RIL is Likely to Challenge Chevron's Bid for Atlas Energy

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Reliance Industries (RIL) is likely to challenge Chevron's bid for Atlas Energy, according to a letter disclosed by the U.S. natural gas producer in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also stated that it would like to evaluate options including whether it could be able to create incremental value for Atlas.

Reliance had, in January 2011, sent a letter to Atlas Energy board asking why it was not given an opportunity to bid for Atlas Energy in spite of its interest in the company and substantial financial resources.

The company had last year, agreed to pay $1.7 billion to Atlas to form a joint venture and own a 40 percent stake in Atlas' Marcellus Shale operations in the eastern United States. Chevron, in November, announced its plan to buy Atlas for $3.2 billion.

The shareholders of Atlas Energy have also sued its board of directors in the American courts for signing a ???draconian??? merger deal which gives an unfair advantage to Chevron to match any offer by Reliance Industries should the Ambani company decides to make a counter bid. It is now pending in a Western Pennsylvania court.

Reliance is looking to invest in new areas such as shale gas as it seeks a foothold overseas and seeks to expand its businesses beyond petrochemicals, refining, oil and gas exploration, and retail.

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