April 28, 2017 / 5:04 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Frontline says Marshall Islands court sets date for DHT hearing

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OSLO, April 28 (Reuters) - Oil tanker firm Frontline said on Friday the high court in the Marshall Islands has agreed to hear on May 17 its complaint against takeover target DHT Holdings, which is incorporated in the remote Pacific republic, over a rival deal with BW Offshore.

Frontline, controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen and owner of a 14.5 percent stake in DHT, has been trying for the past year to take over its New York-listed rival and is opposing what it called “unfair transaction documents” in a defensive deal struck by DHT to allow oil and gas shipping group BW Group to increase its stake in DHT to up to 45 percent.

“We continue to urge the board of DHT to negotiate in good faith with Frontline over its proposed offer, for the benefit of all DHT shareholders and consistent with the board’s fiduciary duties,” the company said in a statement.

On Tuesday Frontline repeated its offer of 0.8 Frontline shares for every DHT share and set a 24-hour deadline for DHT to respond to the $500 million offer.

After Frontline’s initial offer DHT struck a tankers for shares deal with BW Group which made the latter DHT’s biggest shareholder, with a 34.28 percent stake.

Frontline then sought to stop the BW deal proceeding in the U.S. courts but the New York County Supreme Court said on April 19 it had no jurisdiction over DHT.

However, DHT has said that its deal with BW Group was not designed to block Frontline’s takeover bid but was an fleet acquisition aimed at strengthening its market positions.

DHT said on Wednesday its board would carefully review Frontline’s latest offer, taking into account changes to the company’s fleet and market developments over the past two months, and would reply in due course. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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