What: Penn Virginia Corporation's (NYSE: PVA) stock jumped more than 20% at one point today on reports that BP plc (NYSE:BP) has offered to buy the company. According to reports in the U.K., BP offered $8 per share for the Eagle Ford shale driller. However, Penn Virginia is thought to have rejected the offer as it's seeking closer to $10 per share. Still, even if Penn Virginia clinched a deal at $10 per share, that would be well below the $17.50 per share the stock was trading at last summer before oil prices collapsed, when it was also thought to be on the auction block.
So what: Penn Virginia has actually been rumored to be up for sale for more than a year as billionaire investor George Soros has been urging the company to find a buyer. Soros, who owns about 8% of the company, would like to cash out via a buyout. This past February The Wall Street Journal reported that the company had finally hired an investment bank to look for potential buyers. However, so far no deal has materialized.
The rumored BP offer seems a bit of a stretch given the fact the Penn Virginia is such a small company. Its enterprise value is just $1.5 billion, which is minuscule compared to $165 billion behemoth BP. Because of the size difference, Penn Virginia wouldn't be a needle-moving deal for BP to the same degree it would be for a smaller player.
Now what: Call it a hunch, but I'd suspect that this rumor isn't based on a whole lot of fact. While Penn Virginia is thought to be for sale, BP just doesn't seem like a very likely candidate to make an offer. While it's quite possible that someone could eventually offer Penn Virginia $8 to $10 per share, buying the stock on speculation that a deal will happen could end very badly if a buyer doesn't emerge.