Regal Denies Receiving $1.2Bln Bid From Shell

Regal Petroleum, a British-based explorer focusing on Ukraine, on Friday denied a report that it got a $1.2 billion offer from Shell. The company's shares jumped the most in more than four years in London trading.

Regal rose 42 pence, or 51 percent, to close at 125 pence, the most since January 2004, valuing the company at ?264.6 million ($470.7 million). The gain trims the stock's fall this year to 17 percent.

"No such approach has been received," Regal said in a statement. A spokesman said Shell had inquired whether the company would be prepared to share some of its new rigs in Ukraine.

Speculation over possible mergers and acquisitions in the industry has grown as oil company stocks have retreated amid a 35 percent drop in crude prices since July's record. The Dow Jones Europe Stoxx Oil & Gas Index posted its biggest quarterly decline in more than two decades in the three months through September.

The Daily Telegraph reported Friday that Shell, which tried to buy Regal's Ukrainian assets last year, has "within the last few days" written to the company with a takeover proposal of 300 pence a share. Regal CEO David Greer declined to comment, as did Shell spokeswoman Olga Gorodilina.