Why Macquarie Group Ltd wants to buy Central Petroleum Limited

The shares of oil and gas company Central Petroleum Limited (ASX:CTP) have been a big mover today.

Following the release of Central’s shares from their trading halt, they have rocketed higher by 37% to 18.5 cents after a takeover approach from shareholder and principal financier Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) was announced.

Central revealed this morning that on November 10 it received an unsolicited, indicative, and non-binding proposal from Macquarie to acquire 100% of the issued capital of Central for 17.5 cents per share.

According to the release the proposal is subject to various conditions including due diligence and entry by both parties into definitive transaction documents.

Although management has determined that Macquarie’s offer is not in the best interests of its shareholders, it has granted the bank due diligence access subject to appropriate documentation.

The company believes that doing so will provide Macquarie with an opportunity to reconsider its proposal.

It would appear as though management believes Central is worth far more than what Macquarie is currently offering and that a look under the hood will invite a better offer. Considering Central expects explosive revenue growth over the next couple of years, they could well be on the money.

A recent presentation shows that by FY 2018 management expects revenue to grow to beyond $60 million from $22.6 million in FY 2016. This expectation is based on existing uncontracted gas reserves.

If the company does deliver on this, I feel quite sure it will be worth more than 17.5 cents per share. In light of this I wouldn’t be surprised to see Macquarie come back with a better offer.

But I wouldn’t suggest investors jump in and invest in the company purely in the hope of a better offer driving the share price higher. Macquarie could just as easily walk away from the deal, leading to Central’s share price taking a tumble.

Instead of risking money in Central, I would suggest smart investors take a look at these growth shares. Each has the potential for strong gains in the next few months as far as I'm concerned.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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