(Corrects headline and first paragraph to show profit fell 71 percent, not 85 percent)
Oct 25 (Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas producer Nexen Inc , target of a $15.1 billion takeover bid by China's CNOOC Ltd, reported a 71 percent fall in third-quarter earnings.
Earnings fell to C$59 million, or 11 Canadian cents per share, from C$200 million, or 32 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier. Net sales rose about 7 percent to C$1.5 billion.
Reporting By Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Ted Kerr