(Reuters) – Oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co is in talks to acquire a smaller rival, Showa Shell Sekiyu, for $4.2 billion in a deal that could create Japan’s second largest player in the domestic gasoline market, a person with knowledge of the issue said.
Idemitsu and Showa Shell aim to reach an agreement early next year, the person said, asking not to be identified because the deal is not public yet.
Idemitsu aims to buy shares in Showa Shell in a tender offer which could be worth as much as 500 billion yen ($4.2 billion), the person said.
The united company would control 30 percent of Japan’s gasoline market, the second largest after JX Holdings Inc .
Idemitsu said in a statement on Saturday that it is in talks on various possibilities with Showa Shell but at this point nothing has been decided.
Showa Shell said on the same day that Idemitsu is one of the companies that it is in talks for possible management options and also need nothing was settled.
The Nikkei business daily reported the attempt earlier on Saturday. ($1 = 119.4900 yen) (Reporting by Taro Fuse; Writing by Junko Fujita; Editing by Robert Birsel and William Hardy)