Will ExxonMobil-XTO Spark Energy M&A Boom Like 1998-2001?

I have decided this will be “energy week” on the blog. I have a total four posts in mind including yesterday’s about Exxon’s decision to buy XTO Energy. I have reiterated what many people have said, that Exxon may have started a chain reaction of rather large energy mergers. Is there a precedent for such a run on quality energy assets? Absolutely.

Consider the period from 1998 to 2001, the last large energy consolidation. Large energy companies have a history of “me-too” transactions in order to avoid falling behind the competition in terms of size and scope of energy producing properties. Take a look at how many mega mergers were announced between 1998 and 2001:

  • Exxon buys Mobil
  • Conoco buys Phillips
  • BP buys Amoco
  • Chevron buys Texaco

Many energy industry insiders are thinking we could see a repeat of this now that Exxon Mobil, a conservative deal maker (they have not done a large deal since Mobil), has gotten the ball rolling.

So which targets are most likely to be gobbled up first? Interestingly, I have more of  a strong view on which firms likely will not be sold in the short term. More details on those later this week.