09/20/2012 07:58 EDT | Updated 11/20/2012 05:12 EST

Nexen CNOOC Takeover: Shareholders OK Buyout Bid As Poll Shows Canadians Oppose Move


UPDATE: A vast majority of Canadians oppose the takeover of energy firm Nexen by the Chinese state oil company, CNOOC, according to a new Abacus Data poll done for Sun News.

The poll found 69 per cent of Canadians opposed to the transaction, with only eight per cent of respondents saying they back the deal. Seventy-three per cent of respondents said they felt uncomfortable with Chinese companies buying Canadian natural resources firms. But more than half -- 53 per cent -- said they were unaware that a state-owned Chinese was trying to buy a Canadian resource firm until they were asked about it in the poll.

CALGARY - Shareholders of Nexen Inc. (TSX:NXY) have voted to approve a proposed Chinese takeover of the company by China National Offshore Oil Company.

Kevin Reinhart, Nexen's interim president and chief executive, said Thursday the takeover of the company isn't the end for the company as CNOOC intends on keeping the Calgary headquarters and all of the company's employees.

"This transaction will in no way close the book on Nexen or our way of doing business," Reinhart told shareholders, adding that the Chinese intend on maintaining the Nexen brand.

"Instead it will open up a new chapter in our proud history, one I believe has the potential to be as exciting as all the past ones."

However, the $15.1-billion takeover still requires approval by the Canadian government under the Investment Canada Act.

The deal faces the key "net benefit" test that tripped up BHP-Billiton's hostile takeover bid for Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.

Concerns have been raised by Alberta Tory MP Ted Menzies who has said he's been getting a lot of negative feedback from constituents about the takeover by a state-owned Chinese firm.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also said that China needs to show its state-run enterprises can be trusted to play by the same rules as Canada.

CNOOC has offered $27.50 per share in cash for Nexen, which has offshore oil and gas assets around the world as well as a stake in the Long Lake oil sands project in Alberta and shale gas operations in B.C.

Nexen shares were up eight cents at $24.75 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, suggesting that at least some investors believe there is a chance Ottawa will reject the deal.

The deal had required a approval by two-thirds of the votes case by both Nexen's common and preferred shareholders. The common shareholders voted 99 per cent in favour of the deal, while the preferred shareholders voted 87 per cent to approve the agreement.

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