NEW YORK (Reuters) - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc cut its cash bid for McMoRan Exploration Co days before announcing plans to buy the oil and gas company, prompted by poor test results at one of McMoRan's wells, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.
The bid was reduced by nearly 5 percent, from $15.50 to $14.75 per share, following delays at McMoRan's MMR.N Davy Jones deep gas prospect off Louisiana, Freeport-McMoRan (FCX.N) said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Freeport-McMoRan had set out to merge with McMoRan as well as Plains Exploration and Production Co PXP.N in deals totaling $20 billion earlier this year.
McMoRan confirmed problems with its well on November 26 following a production test, sending its stock down 22 percent that day.
Freeport-McMoRan cut its bid just days before making the plans for the deal public on December 5. Its stock fell 15 percent following the news as investors felt that merging with McMoRan and Plains would distract from its copper business.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Richard Chang)