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Viva Energy share price falls despite takeover approval

The Viva Energy Group Ltd (ASX: VEA) share price has opened lower this morning as it looks set to acquire Liberty Oil’s wholesale business.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) this morning said it will not oppose the company’s proposed acquisition.

What’s happening with Liberty Oil?

Viva Energy, through a subsidiary, is looking to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Liberty Oil, specifically Liberty’s wholesale fuel business.

The ACCC found that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in the wholesale supply of fuel products.

According to this morning’s release, the ACCC found that there are alternative wholesale suppliers for retailers and alternative brands on offer.

Viva currently holds a 50% stake in Liberty but is looking to acquire Liberty’s wholesale business entirely while retaining its 50% stake in the retail side.

What does this mean for the Viva Energy share price?

The Viva Energy share price has fallen lower in early trade and is down 0.82% per share to $1.81 at the time of writing.

Despite climbing as high as $2.58 per share in March, the Viva Energy share price has struggled to hold its gains in 2019.

The current $1.81 per share is marginally higher than its $1.75 valuation at the start of January after a significant slide in the last 6 months.

Over a 12-month timeframe, the company’s share price is down 17.57% which even its 3.77% dividend yield can’t help remedy.

However, Viva Energy shares trade on a very low price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple of 6.2x earnings, which could be good value.

This compares favourably to its peers like Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT) or Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) with P/E multiples of 9.5x and 16.6x.

Foolish takeaway

The ACCC approval is a big step for Viva Energy in its pursuit of Liberty Oil’s wholesale fuel business.

Investors will be watching closely to see what sort of synergies the Aussie energy company can generate if it does buy the remaining 50% stake.

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Motley Fool contributor Kenneth Hall has no position in any of the 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 Scott Phillips.

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