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 ENI 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.