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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

Woodside and Santos call off $52bn merger talks

(Sharecast News) - Woodside Energy, the Australian oil and gas group with secondary listings in London and New York, has announced it has called off merger talks with smaller peer Santos that would have created an energy giant worth $52bn. The companies confirmed in December that they were in talks around a potential tie-up, but said on Wednesday they had now "ceased discussions".

Woodside never launched a firm offer for Santos - which is less than half its size by market cap - as the parties are thought to have disagreed on a valuation level.

In a statement, Woodside chief executive Meg O'Neill said: "While the discussions with Santos did not result in a transaction, Woodside considers that the global LNG sector provides significant potential for value creation."

Woodside said it continuously assesses both organic and inorganic growth opportunities, but will "only pursue a transaction that is value accretive for its shareholders".

"Woodside's world-class global portfolio, growth pipeline and strong balance sheet underpin our attractive investment proposition for Australian and global investors," O'Neill said.

Shares in ASX-listed Santos dropped nearly 6% on the news, with the company releasing a statement saying: "Following an initial exchange of information, sufficient combination benefits were not identified to support a merger that would be in the best interests of Santos shareholders."

Woodside's shares however were up 0.5% in Sydney.

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