Takeover Talk at Chesapeake Energy

Company's stock rises on speculation

Chesapeake Energy, which lost two-thirds of its market value in the past four months, rose 8.9 percent in New York trading Wednesday amid speculation the company will be acquired by BP Plc.

"There's chatter" over the possibility of a takeover by London-based BP, said Michael McCarty, chief equity and options strategist at Meridian Equity Partners Inc. in New York. "That's the story that was going around."

BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, is exploring an acquisition of gas properties from Chesapeake, the Wall Street Journal said on Oct. 16, citing unidentified people familiar with BP's strategy.

BP spokesman David Nicholas declined to comment on prospects for a transaction with Chesapeake, saying the company doesn't discuss market speculation.

Likewise, Chesapeake spokesman Jeff Mobley declined to comment, citing the same policy.

Chesapeake's shares tumbled from a July 2 high of $74 as gas prices dropped and the worldwide credit crunch raised concern over whether the company will be able to finance its drilling projects.

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