ASIC interest in Oil Basins
A DEAL supposed to make Fortescue Metals Group the biggest shareholder in a small shale explorer has attracted the attention of the corporate watchdog, amid apparent delays in finalising it.
While it has not launched a formal investigation, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is understood to have made inquiries into the share price movements of Oil Basins on the days surrounding the announcement of a possible deal with Fortescue.
Oil Basins said on November 15 it had ''secured a strategic cornerstone investment'' from Fortescue that would see the iron ore miner take an 18 per cent stake in the shale minnow ''within five business days''.
Fortescue was slightly less bullish at the time, saying an agreement with Oil Basins had not been completed and the negotiations were part of Fortescue's strategy to investigate energy options for its iron ore business.
Almost three weeks later there has been no confirmation of the deal being finalised, and Oil Basins has refused to return multiple inquiries from Fairfax Media.
ASIC's inquiries are believed to relate to Oil Basins' share price rising more than 10 per cent on each of the two days before the Fortescue deal was announced.
The stock rose 35 per cent to 4.1¢ on the day the possible deal was announced. It has shed ground over the past two days, including a fall of more than 10 per cent on Tuesday.