Media release

Santos Woodside merger dead: time for new vision

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR)  is commenting on announcements to the ASX from Woodside Energy Group and Santos Ltd that discussions regarding a potential merger have ceased.

Commenting on the announcement, Harriet Kater, Special Advisor at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“While consolidation is a common strategy in a declining market, that doesn’t mean every deal makes sense.

“In the case of Woodside and Santos investors have struggled to see any strategic rationale for a merger.

“The boards of both companies should be prioritising strategies that maximise shareholder value in the face of the energy transition.

“Santos’ board and management are now under even more pressure to fix the wallowing share price. However there are major questions over whether Keith Spence’s board has the capacity to design and execute a strategy that will appease increasingly frustrated shareholders.

“The Santos board appears to be rapidly running out of ideas. After six years at the helm, Keith Spence is facing re-election at the 2024 AGM and shareholders will rightly question whether he has the requisite skill and judgement to identify and weigh the available strategic options.

“For Woodside, previously released ACCR analysis has determined that returning capital to shareholders presents greater upside than pursuing its risky growth portfolio. This strategy should appeal to any investor that wants to increase returns or reduce risk. It’s staggering that Woodside does not appear to have considered this option.”

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