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GDF Suez did not bid for Talisman, French firm’s CEO says

Gerard Mestrallet, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of French group GDF Suez seen in this 2012 file photo told journalists in Paris on Tuesday that he had "no plans for a major acquisition. I formally deny that we have made a bid for the 'T' company, as mentioned in the press." Mestrallet was referring to reports that GDF had takeover approaches for Canada-based Talisman Energy.

JACKY NAEGELEN/Reuters

GDF Suez SA did not make a bid for Canada's Talisman Energy Inc., according to the French company's chief executive.

His statement refutes a Reuters report earlier this week saying GDF went after Talisman, offering to pay $17-billion (U.S.).

"We made no offer for company," GDF's Gérard Mestrallet told reporters at a press conference in Paris on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. "We have no large acquisition plans on the table. We don't need one."

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The Bloomberg report did not address whether GDF, an electric and utility company, made Talisman an offer to purchase some of its assets. Reuters reported GDF made a written offer for part of the oil and gas company, but that deal was rejected in early December, Reuters said. The two companies have not been in touch since, the newswire reported.

Talisman chief executive Hal Kvisle in November said his company was unable to reel in a buyer for its north Duvernay gas assets at a price he considered suitable. He said companies in Europe and Asia showed interest in the property. Talisman is also struggling to sell assets in the North Sea.

Mr. Kvisle has repeatedly said that while Talisman needs to strengthen its financial position, he will not ditch assets at low-ball prices.

GDF's Mr. Mestrallet told reporters his company can expand outside of Europe through grown and occasional "medium-sized" acquisitions, according to Bloomberg.

Talisman was not immediately available for comment. Activist investor Carl Icahn, who controls roughly 7 per cent of Talisman, wants the Calgary-based company to take measures such as selling assets or selling itself in order to jack up its stock price. His firm has two people on Talisman's board. One joined the board on Dec. 1, and the second appointment was made official at the Dec. 6 board meeting.

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About the Author

Carrie Tait joined the Globe in January, 2011, mainly reporting on energy from the Calgary bureau. Previously, she spent six years working for the National Post in both Calgary and Toronto. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor’s degree in political studies from the University of Saskatchewan. More

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