PHOENIX - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold says it is buying oil companies Plains Exploration & Production and McMoRan Exploration for about $9 billion.
The additions of the oil and gas drillers are expected to create a natural resources conglomerate with assets ranging from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to mines in Indonesia and Africa.
Freeport will buy Plains Exploration Co. for $50 per share in cash and stock totalling $6.9 billion. It will acquire McMoRan Exploration Co. for $14.75 per share in cash, or about $2.1 billion excluding interests already owned by Freeport and Plains.
McMoRan Exploration shareholders will also get a distribution of units in a royalty trust.
The deals are expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.