Finance/Companies news briefs, July 17

BP Amoco ... FreeMarkets Inc. ... Anadarko Petroleum ... Union Pacific Resources ... Gazprom ... Apex Oil ... Crown Central Petroleum


BP Amoco PLC has signed a new agreement with FreeMarkets Inc., Pittsburgh, to use FreeMarkets' online auction technology. BP Amoco will use the auction technology to purchase goods and services for its global operations. The agreement follows the completion of a pilot program begun in 1999. BP Amoco says it has bid out more than $100 million in goods and services through FreeMarkets and has identified average annual savings of more than 16%.

Shareholders of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Union Pacific Resources Group Inc. in separate votes July 13 overwhelmingly approved the $4.43 billion merger of the companies (OGJ, Apr. 10, 2000, p. 34). The merger closed the following day. UPR will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Anadarko. Anadarko shareholders also voted to increase the maximum size of the company's board of directors to 15 members from 9.

Duma deputy and former Gazprom chief Viktor Chernomyrdin announced June 29 that he will no longer serve on Gazprom's board. Chernomyrdin told reporters that his "work for Gazprom is a closed book." Gazprom Chairman Rem Vyakhirev announced recently that he will retire when his contract expires in May 2001. Deputy head of the presidential administration Dmitrii Medvedev was elected to replace Chernomyrdin June 30. With this change, Gazprom's corporate management, which has held a controlling number of seats on the company's board for much of the past decade, saw its representation on the 11-member panel decline to 4 seats from 5, while the government increased its representation to 5 seats.

Apex Oil Co. Inc. increased its proposal to acquire all outstanding shares of Crown Central Petroleum Corp.'s Class A and Class B common stock not already owned by Apex or related parties to $10.50/share, payable in cash, from $10.00/share. Apex said its proposal is superior to the $9.50/share cash offer from Rosemore Inc., which was accepted by the special committee evaluating the offers. Apex also said it remains willing to pursue a stock-for-stock merger of Apex and Crown, which Apex also believes is superior to Rosemore's offer. Apex's proposed stock swap would value Crown common stock at $10.50/share. In a stock-for-stock merger, Crown shareholders would continue to hold their shares, Crown would remain a public company, and Apex would receive newly issued Crown common stock in an amount sufficient to give Apex voting control of Crown, says Apex.

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