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U.S. judge expected to rule in favor of merger of Sprint, T-Mobile: sources

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(Reuters) – A U.S. district judge is expected to rule in favor of allowing Sprint and T-Mobile to merge over the objections of a group of state attorneys general, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

A smartphones with Sprint logo are seen in front of a screen projection of T-mobile logo, in this picture illustration taken April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Shares of Sprint surged 69% in after hours trade and T-Mobile stock rose 8%.

U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero is expected to make his decision public on Tuesday, one source said.

Approval of the deal would be a high profile defeat for state attorneys general, led by New York and California, who had argued that a merger of the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless carriers would lead to higher prices, especially for customers who use prepaid plans popular with people with poorer credit.

The deal has already been approved by federal regulators.

The companies had said the deal was needed to help them build out next generation of wireless, called 5G, and better compete with sector leaders Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc.

Executives from the companies, including outspoken T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere, testified during the trial that Sprint’s business was deteriorating and would not survive if it did not merge with T-Mobile.

The two companies are expected to start talks on renegotiating the terms of their $26.5 billion merger in the next few days, two sources said.

T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom is keen to cut the price of the deal, arguing that Sprint’s fortunes have deteriorated since they inked their agreement, the sources added.

However, Sprint, in which Japan’s Softbank Group has a major stake, is expected to argue that T-Mobile needs Sprint in order to grow its cashflow and to boost its capacity using its spectrum, according to the sources.

There is no certainty that there will be a renegotiated deal, the sources cautioned.

The Court did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sprint and T-Mobile both declined to comment.

One merger opponent, Gigi Sohn, a former telecoms regulator now at Georgetown Law, tweeted her displeasure with reports of the decision. “If #antitrust law doesn’t even block a 4-3 merger like this, we need to start from scratch,” she tweeted, referring to the market shrinking to three from four competitors. “I’ll have more to say tomorrow after I read the judge’s decision (through my tears).”

While a group of states decided to fight the deal in court, the federal government approved it with conditions, a decision which remain in effect.

The U.S. Justice Department approved the deal in July after the carriers agreed to sell some assets to satellite provider Dish Network Corp, which would create its own cellular network to ensure that there would still be four competitors in the market. The Federal Communications Commission signed off on the deal in October. Dish shares rose 2% after hours.

The states maintained that Dish was ill-equipped to become a competitive fourth wireless carrier.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that the court was expected to approve the deal on Tuesday.

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Greg Roumeliotis in New York, David Shepardson in DC and Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Uttaresh.V and Lincoln Feast.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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FTC workers recommends approval of Roche deal for Spark: report

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FILE PHOTO: Roche tablets are seen positioned in entrance of a displayed Roche emblem on this photograph illustration January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Commerce Fee workers reviewing Roche’s (RBO.PA) plan to purchase U.S.-based gene remedy specialist Spark Therapeutics (ONCE.O) for $4.three billion beneficial that the deal be authorised with out requiring any asset gross sales, the Capitol Discussion board reported on Thursday.

Basel-based Roche, the most important maker of most cancers medicine, mentioned in February that it could purchase the U.S. firm, buying a portfolio that features a blindness remedy that has U.S. and European approval and different initiatives for neurodegenerative problems like Huntington’s illness. One among its initiatives is a gene remedy remedy for hemophilia.

The FTC workers had targeted on hemophilia remedies since Roche markets Hemlibra, the report mentioned.

Following the workers’s suggestion, officers on the high of the FTC’s Bureau of Competitors should weigh in. The following step could be a vote by the FTC chairman and 4 commissioners.

The deal should additionally win approval from the UK’s Competitors and Markets Authority, which mentioned this week that it had a deadline of mid-December for a Section 1 resolution. A Section 2 probe could be extra in-depth and detailed.

Roche, Spark and the FTC all declined remark.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Further reporting by John Miller; Modifying by Dan Grebler

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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Paddy Energy and Poker Stars house owners to create on-line playing chief

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DUBLIN (Reuters) – The house owners of Paddy Energy Betfair and Poker Stars have agreed to merge in an all-share deal that may create the world’s largest on-line betting and playing firm by income to reap the benefits of the opening up of U.S. markets.

FILE PHOTO: Paddy Energy emblem is seen behind a keyboard and playing cube on this illustration taken in Sarajevo, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photograph

Flutter Leisure (FLTRE.I), previously generally known as Paddy Energy Betfair, is to mix with Nasdaq- and Toronto-listed Stars Group Inc (TSG) (TSGI.TO), proprietor of Poker Stars, the businesses mentioned on Wednesday.

Following the merger, shareholders of Flutter would personal roughly 54.64% of the brand new firm, with TSG shareholders proudly owning about 45.36%.

The merger is the most recent in a sequence of offers because the trade responds to the rising variety of gamblers utilizing on-line and cellular gadgets and the chance created by the comfort of guidelines on sports activities betting in the USA.

Shares in Flutter jumped 15 p.c in early buying and selling, whereas playing rivals GVC (GVC.L) and William Hill (WMH.L) had been additionally lifted by the prospect of additional consolidation.

Mixed annual revenues would have totaled 3.eight billion kilos ($4.7 billion) in 2018, making Flutter-TSG the most important on-line betting and gaming operator globally, the businesses mentioned.

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson, who will retain his function within the mixed group, mentioned the deal would “turbocharge” Flutter’s current technique and “present world-class capabilities throughout sports activities betting, gaming, every day fantasy sports activities and poker, in addition to higher geographical and product diversification.”

The merged group can have its headquarters in Dublin and its major itemizing in London.

FOX BACKING

The merged group shall be boosted by a partnership in the USA with FOX Sports activities, which can have the fitting to amass an 18.5% stake in Flutter’s FanDuel U.S. enterprise from 2021.

Dublin-based Flutter merged its U.S. enterprise with fantasy sports activities firm FanDuel final yr in a deal it mentioned would create the trade’s largest on-line enterprise in the USA.

TSG had bolstered its British operations final yr when it purchased Sky Betting & Gaming in a $4.7 billion deal.

Flutter has sharpened its concentrate on North America as the doubtless large U.S. market opens up and it faces increased taxes and elevated rules in its major British, Irish and Australian markets.

Betting trade Betfair and Paddy Energy, which runs excessive road betting outlets in addition to a web based enterprise, merged in 2016, though the mixing took longer than anticipated and a toll on product funding for a time.

The merger is predicted to ship pretax value synergies of 140 million kilos per yr, together with alternatives to cross-sell merchandise to 1 one other’s clients in worldwide markets and decrease finance prices, the businesses mentioned.

The deal can be anticipated to spice up Flutter’s underlying earnings per share by at the very least 50 p.c within the first full monetary yr following completion.

Beneath the phrases of the merger, TSG shareholders shall be entitled to 0.2253 new Flutter shares for every TSG share.

Reporting by Graham Fahy; Modifying by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Mark Potter

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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M&S CFO Humphrey Singer to give up his position

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FILE PHOTO: A person leaves a Marks & Spencer retailer in London, Britain, on this January 7, 2016 file photograph. REUTERS/Toby Melville

(Reuters) – Marks & Spencer Group Plc (MKS.L) mentioned on Saturday its Chief Monetary Officer Humphrey Singer has determined to go away the corporate.

Singer will work with Group Chief Govt Officer Steve Rowe on his succession course of, the corporate mentioned in a press release.

Singer’s departure date has not but been determined and he’ll proceed together with his duties till it’s confirmed, the British retailer mentioned.

“After eighteen months of working with Steve to guide the transformation technique and rebuild the finance operate I’ve determined that now’s the appropriate time to maneuver on,” Singer mentioned in a press release.

The information of Singer’s departure comes at a time when the 135-year previous retailer shall be relegated out of the London’s FTSE 100 index from Sept. 23.

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru, Enhancing by Ros Russell

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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After LSE’s sharp rebuff, HKEX begins investor attraction offensive

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LONDON (Reuters) – Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388.HK) is embarking on a three-week attraction offensive with London Inventory Trade (LSE.L) traders because the Asian buying and selling home tries to salvage its proposed $39 billion takeover provide.

FILE PHOTO: The title of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Restricted is displayed on the entrance in Hong Kong, China January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photograph

LSE’s board is refusing to have interaction with HKEX after emphatically rejecting its method on Friday. The LSE described HKEX’s provide as essentially flawed, saying it could not meet its strategic targets and got here with a excessive threat of being blocked by regulators.

LSE has stated it desires to stay with its plan of shopping for knowledge and buying and selling firm Refinitiv for $27 billion.

However HKEX has vowed to press on, and has arrange conferences with a collection of LSE’s high traders over the following few weeks, in response to two individuals acquainted with the matter, elevating the possibilities that it might make a hostile provide.

One top-25 investor advised Reuters that they had a gathering booked with HKEX later this month and that there might be a hostile method. Others stated they have been eager to listen to extra moderately than dismissing the deal instantly in favor of the Refinitiv tie-up.

“We’d count on there to be some synergy (within the HKEX deal) each when it comes to company overheads and expertise,” stated James Bevan, chief funding officer at CCLA. He added that whereas he was broadly supportive of the Refinitiv deal, he had some considerations in regards to the knowledge agency’s development technique.

HKEX has till Oct. 9 to make a agency provide or stroll away.

HKEX declined to touch upon the deal past its assertion on Friday that it could proceed to have interaction with LSE shareholders and that its provide was of their greatest pursuits.

LSE didn’t reply to a request for touch upon Sunday.

REGULATORY RISK

A supply near HKEX stated the Asian buying and selling home was assured some LSE traders have been fascinated by their provide and that it had an opportunity of success. They identified that round 15 of the highest 20 LSE shareholders additionally had stakes in HKEX.

However the previous decade has seen a collection of makes an attempt at cross-border change offers fail, thwarted by regulators and politicians even when each firms have favored the deal.

HKEX says it has had “constructive” preliminary discussions with regulators and policymakers. Nevertheless, regulatory sources in Britain and Italy – the place LSE owns Borsa Italiana – stated that they had but to carry substantive talks with HKEX on the deal.

HKEX will probably be relying on its lead banker – Moelis’s Caroline Silver – to assist it pull off what can be a significant coup if it succeeds.

One of the vital outstanding change bankers, Silver labored on LSE’s takeover of Borsa Italiana in 2007 when at Morgan Stanley, and represented London Metallic Trade when HKEX purchased it in 2012.

“Her modus is kind of easy: she is aware of everyone within the change and monetary infrastructure world, she understands the markets … and he or she runs a really disciplined course of,” stated Martin Abbott, London Metallic Trade’s former chief govt.

Further reporting by Sinead Cruise, Carolyn Cohn and Huw Jones; Writing by Rachel Armstrong; Enhancing by Dale Hudson

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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Nissan desires Renault to cut back stake to revive Renault-FCA deal talks: WSJ

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FILE PHOTO: The logos of automobile producers Renault and Nissan are seen in entrance of dealerships of the businesses in Reims, France, July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

(Reuters) – Carmakers Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) and Renault SA (RENA.PA) are attempting to succeed in a deal to reshape their international alliance, in hopes of reviving Renault’s merger talks with Italy’s Fiat Chrysler Cars NV (FCHA.MI), the Wall Avenue Journal reported on Friday, citing emails and folks briefed on the talks.

Nissan desires Renault to cut back its 43.4% stake within the Japanese auto firm, in line with emails reviewed by WSJ.

The discussions, that are at an early stage, began quickly after the potential deal between Renault and FCA collapsed, the report added. Talks might prolong till the top of the 12 months.

The negotiations might result in an preliminary memorandum of understanding on restructuring as early as September, the Journal reported, citing emails.

Nissan and FCA stated that they had no touch upon the WSJ report. Renault was not instantly out there for a remark.

FCA stated in June that it had deserted its $35 billion merger supply for Renault, blaming French politics for scuttling the deal. The French authorities owns a 15% stake in Renault.

Reuters had reported in June {that a} revival of the collapsed merger plans of FCA and Renault might hinge on the French carmaker chopping its stake in Nissan.

Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Enhancing by Sandra Maler

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LSE’s bid for Refinitiv spotlights quest for knowledge, globality

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LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – London Inventory Alternate Group Plc’s (LSE.L) deliberate buy of Refinitiv in a $27 billion deal is the most recent signal that trade operators are focusing extra on knowledge merchandise to extend income, whereas additionally attempting to develop their international attain.

FILE PHOTO: An commercial for Refinitiv is seen on a display screen in London’s Canary Wharf monetary centre, London, Britain, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

For greater than a decade, trade operators across the globe have been attempting to consolidate. However proposed tie-ups between main rivals have failed a number of instances up to now due to resistance from authorities authorities who both had antitrust issues or didn’t desire a international firm working what was typically seen as a nationwide image.

On the identical time, earnings from the normal enterprise of facilitating transactions like inventory trades have fallen, pushing the business to search for associated companies for development, analysts and business sources mentioned.

As a result of income from knowledge merchandise has been rising and is predicted to proceed doing so, exchanges are actually hungry for these merchandise in addition to promoting companies primarily based off that knowledge and data, similar to indexes and fee-based companies they’ll supply as soon as a commerce has cleared.

“Information is the lifeblood of monetary markets immediately now greater than ever – and that knowledge is getting increasingly helpful,” mentioned Kevin McPartland, head of market construction and expertise analysis at Greenwich Associates.

If accomplished, LSE’s deal to purchase Refinitiv, a worldwide monetary knowledge analytics supplier, from buyout agency Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N) and Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO) will match that mould, the analysts mentioned.

“It simply makes them extra aggressive and extra interesting as a companion for purchasers as a result of it brings collectively much more than what LSE had earlier than,” mentioned Spencer Mindlin, an Aite Group analyst who focuses on capital markets buying and selling expertise.

LSE and Thomson Reuters declined to remark for this text, referring to their earlier statements that confirmed they have been in discussions for a deal. Blackstone didn’t have an instantaneous remark.

In its assertion, LSE mentioned a deal would assist develop its knowledge and distribution capabilities, diversify buying and selling capabilities and improve international footprint, permitting it to learn from “future data- and technology-enabled development alternatives.”

LSE mentioned it expects to chop greater than 350 million kilos in annual prices for 5 years after the deal closes, and add to its earnings per share within the first full 12 months after completion.

GLOBAL EXPANSION

Refinitiv relies in London and reaches greater than 40,000 shoppers, who’re largely merchants and funding professionals, in additional than 190 international locations.

Patrick Younger, an business guide at Alternate Make investments, mentioned LSE’s deal for Refinitiv can be “a significant pivot away from the EU” for the trade operator.

Simply final month, London Inventory Alternate Chief Govt David Schwimmer mentioned it was tough even to contemplate large mergers due to political opposition.

The corporate failed a number of instances to merge with Germany’s Deutsche Boerse AG .GDAXI and beforehand failed to amass Canada’s principal trade, TSX Inc.

These collapsed offers mirror proposed cross-border marriages that didn’t work, together with Singapore Alternate Ltd’s (SGXL.SI) try to purchase Australia’s ASX Ltd (ASX.AX) in 2011.

QUEST TO DIVERSIFY

Main exchanges, together with Intercontinental Alternate Inc (ICE.N), Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) and Deutsche Boerse, have been extra profitable in inking smaller offers that diversify their companies away from fundamental inventory buying and selling.

Probably the most fundamental companies that exchanges present are real-time market knowledge feeds. In the US, that generates about $1.four billion in annual income for the business, in response to Greenwich Associates. Exchanges generate billions extra in knowledge income past that for associated services.

Buyers and banks that pay for the data have been pushing again on pricing. Some funding companies have known as on the European Union’s markets watchdog ESMA to overview market knowledge charges, saying they carry on rising regardless of falling prices of computing and knowledge storage.

At London Inventory Alternate, former chief government Xavier Rolet started to diversify income after taking the helm in 2009.

FILE PHOTO: The London Inventory Alternate Group places of work are seen within the Metropolis of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

In the present day, info companies account for practically 40% of the group’s 2.14 billion kilos ($2.65 billion) in annual revenues, in response to its 2018 annual report. That portion is adopted by post-trade companies at simply over one-third.

Conventional capital markets enterprise like inventory buying and selling and preliminary public choices accounted for simply 19% of income final 12 months, in contrast with round 46% a decade in the past.

(This story corrects paragraph 19 to interchange reference to “consolidated market feeds” with “real-time market knowledge feeds”).

Further reporting by Michelle Worth in Washington D.C., Noor Zainab Hussain in Bangalore and Pamela Barbaglia in London; Modifying by Lauren LaCapra, Paritosh Bansal and Daniel Wallis

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From Paris to Omaha: How Occidental CEO out-maneuvered Chevron in Anadarko bid

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Occidental Petroleum chief executive Vicki Hollub was caught off guard when U.S. oil giant Chevron swooped in last month with a $33 billion offer to buy Anadarko Petroleum, the oil and gas exploration and production firm she had been wooing for nearly two years.

FILE PHOTO: Vicki Hollub, President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, speaks at the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Chevron, nearly five times larger than Occidental, appeared to have out-maneuvered its smaller rival. But on Sunday Hollub showed the fight was not over. After a whirlwind few days to raise more cash, Hollub offered a sweetened deal. By Thursday, Chevron had bowed out.

In edging out Chevron, Hollub leaned on global relationships and knowledge forged from 35 years in the oil industry, according to about a dozen people familiar with the talks leading up to the company’s latest offer.

Occidental had struggled to win over Anadarko because its first public $38 billion offer of 50 percent cash and 50 percent stock, as well as previous offers made privately, required the approval of Occidental shareholders, and Anadarko was not convinced they would go for the deal, two sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

Hollub knew she needed to substantially increase the cash offer – thereby making shareholder approval unnecessary – and moved swiftly to secure it, the sources said.

She was in Paris on April 26, just two weeks after Chevron’s announcement, and struck an $8.8 billion deal with French major Total SA to sell Anadarko assets her company didn’t yet own.

Two days later she was in Omaha, Nebraska, securing $10 billion in financing from billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, who typically does not partner with companies pursuing unsolicited takeovers.

Occidental declined to make Hollub available for an interview for this story. The company’s shares are down 9 percent since making their offer public in late April.

The combined company would establish Occidental as the largest operator in the Permian basin in west Texas and New Mexico, the heart of the U.S. shale revolution, where a boom in production has propelled the United States into becoming the world’s largest oil producer.

It would make Occidental the third-largest U.S. oil company with a market value of about $80 billion, dwarfed only by global giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

“She’s doing the boldest M&A thing that’s happened since the ‘80s,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, energy consultant and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “You’re having an atypical M&A battle in a very competitive space where (usually) the bigger you are, the more you’re going to win.”

Hollub’s challenge has stunned an industry where the last attempt to break up an agreed-upon deal between two U.S. oil companies was in 1984 when Texaco challenged Pennzoil’s acquisition of Getty Oil.

It has also angered some Occidental investors who say Hollub is overstretching the company’s balance sheet in an ill-advised quest for size in a volatile industry.

“Our concern is the willingness of the management team at Occidental to cut very favorable deals against the interests of shareholders on a longer-term basis,” said John Linehan, portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price.

T. Rowe, the sixth-largest holder of Occidental shares, announced it would vote against the board of directors on the annual shareholder meeting Friday. But such a move may be mostly symbolic.

An Occidental spokesman declined to comment on the concerns but pointed to Hollub’s defense of her strategy that it was better to raise cash than issue new debt.

Hollub’s background in the technical aspects of oil production contrasts with her predecessor, a banker and known dealmaker. She has been described as down to earth by former and current employees, differing from flamboyant energy CEOs.

LONGTIME DISCUSSIONS

Buying Anadarko was seen as the best way for Occidental to gain more acreage in the Permian shale basin, where it markets nearly a quarter of all barrels produced in the region.

When Chevron announced a deal on April 12 to buy Anadarko, Hollub gathered the merger team. They were shocked that Anadarko had accepted a bid that was $11 per share below what Occidental had privately offered, three of the people familiar with the discussions said.

“She thought, we’re in it to win it. Let’s make our offer public so their shareholders know what they passed up,” one of the sources said.

In a letter to Anadarko’s board of directors on April 24, Occidental said they “were surprised and disappointed” that Anadarko had not agreed to their previous two offers in April.

Anadarko executives, however, remained concerned that Occidental shareholders could scuttle the deal, leaving them without a buyer, two sources familiar with the situation said. The board of directors wanted to stick with Chevron.

Just two days after sending the letter, Hollub was in Paris meeting with Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne to discuss Anadarko’s African assets, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

The two already had a relationship stemming from the Dolphin Gas Project, a Middle East cross-border gas initiative where both companies have an equal share. Total had made it known to her that they coveted Anadarko’s properties, including a liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique.

“Vicki wanted to show that she could quickly put the cash on the table. In less than 10 days she had the cash ready,” a Paris-based source said.

Omaha, Nebraska was next. Buffett is known for moving quickly when a deal piques his interest, but he tends to avoid getting involved in hostile takeover bids.

The meeting was set up by BofA CEO Brian Moynihan, whose bank was helping to provide financing for the Anadarko deal. Hollub later said Buffett was “warm and wonderful” in their meeting, a source familiar with the discussions said.

Buffett, cash flush and on the hunt for new deals, agreed to provide $10 billion in financing in return for an 8 percent premium, a concern for dividend-focused shareholders who believe the terms are too pricey.

Slideshow (2 Images)

The two deals enabled Hollub to submit a revised offer on Sunday, increasing the cash component from 50 percent to 78 percent.

On Thursday, Chevron said it would collect its $1 billion termination fee and walk away from the negotiations.

(For a graphic on ‘Oxy-Anadarko would be third largest U.S. oil company’ click tmsnrt.rs/2VSZ3hY)

Reporting By Devika Krishna Kumar and Jessica Resnick Ault; additional reporting by David Gaffen, Bate Felix, David J. French, Jennifer Hiller, Jennifer Ablan; Writing by David Gaffen; Editing by Ross Colvin

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