Italy's state-run energy conglomerate ENI
has outbid a rival suitor for Lasmo, offering
$3.97 billion in cash for the British oil-production company.
Analysts said the deal would enable ENI to increase production,
become a major participant in the liberalized European gas market and expand its
power generation capabilities. The arrangement will also allow
to establish a foothold in the high-potential Asian gas market
and add Venezuela to its Latin American operations. ENI's bid of £2 lbs ($2.95) a
share represented a premium of around 12% over a cash and stock
offer from Amerada Hess Corp., New York.