Kekst aids ConocoPhillips on Burlington Resources acquisition

HOUSTON: Kekst & Company aided oil giant ConocoPhillips on its massive acquisition of natural gas company Burlington Resources last week.

HOUSTON: Kekst & Company aided oil giant ConocoPhillips on its massive acquisition of natural gas company Burlington Resources last week.

The deal's $35.6 billion value made it the second-largest North American M&A of 2005, after P&G's $55.7 billion acquisition of Gillette. ConocoPhillips communication head Sam Falcona said Kekst has "been of counsel to us for many, many years."

Kekst partner Jeffrey Taufield declined to comment on the agency's work. Falcona said "it would be premature to have any discussions" on how the acquisition could affect staffing levels in the companies as a whole, or their respective communications departments.

"We've basically just started forming a transition team, and once we put that together, both companies will start looking at everything we need to take into consideration for the acquisition," he said.

James Bartlett, director of corporate communications for Burlington, said the company did not work with an outside agency on the deal. He referred questions about the future of the company's communications staff to ConocoPhillips, and added, "I could give you an answer, but it would be a pure guess. Better to talk to somebody who would know."

Falcona said that the essential key message about the deal's benefits were the same for both internal and external audiences: Burlington's natural gas resources will complement ConocoPhillips' other energy resources, and allow the company to become the top natural gas producer in North America.

The acquisition comes at a time when the entire oil industry is being forced to justify its recent high profits in the court of public opinion, as well as to lawmakers. The deal will almost certainly cement Kekst's position at the top of the year-end league tables for deal value.

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