January 18, 2016 / 3:01 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Suncor, Canadian Oil in talks aimed at clinching friendly deal-source

(Changes sourcing, adds background)

By John Tilak and Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc, which recently extended its hostile bid for Canadian Oil Sands Ltd , is now in talks with its target and a friendly deal could be clinched as early as Monday, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Suncor, Canada’s largest oil producer, is contemplating improving the exchange ratio around the all-stock offer in an attempt to sweeten the deal, said the source, who asked not to be named as the talks are private.

The two Canadian companies have been working on a revised bid since Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Sunday, citing a source, who said talks were still ongoing.

The two companies were not immediately reachable for comment.

Suncor is currently offering Canadian Oil Sands shareholders 0.25 of a Suncor share for each Canadian Oil Sands share they hold.

The offer, launched in early October, initially valued the company at about C$4.3 billion ($2.96 billion). The recent oil price rout has hurt the value of Suncor’s shares, so the bid currently values Canadian Oil Sands at C$3.8 billion.

Canadian Oil Sands has a 36.7 percent stake in Syncrude, the oil-sands mining consortium in northern Alberta that is Canada’s largest single source of crude oil.

Suncor extended its bid for Canadian Oil Sands earlier this month after its target’s poison pill expired with it failing to find a white knight.

At the beginning of last week Suncor had received more than 40 percent of the votes in favor of its bid for Canadian Oil Sands, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters. It was however, still short of the two-thirds majority it required in order to clinch a deal.

$1 = 1.4529 Canadian dollars Additional reporting by Herb Lash; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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