August 8, 2011 / 11:20 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 2-Wilbur Ross raises stake in Exco Resources

* Boosts stake to 12 pct

* Exco says has pact blocking any Ross takeover offer (Adds background about bids, company)

BANGALORE/NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross increased his stake in Exco Resources Inc XCO.N to 12 percent, just days after the oil and gas producer said it had an agreement prohibiting Ross from making an offer to acquire control of the company.

Ross’s investment group, WL Ross & Co, held a 12 percent stake in the Dallas-based company as of Aug. 4, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

On July 27, Exco said it had entered into a standstill agreement with Ross, its second-largest shareholder, prohibiting him from owning more than 20 percent of its outstanding shares or making an offer for control of the company. [ID:nN1E76Q2DG]

Ross held a 9.8 stake as of a February regulatory filing.

Exco has been a takeover target since November 2010, when Chief Executive Douglas Miller, with backing from oilman T. Boone Pickens and other investors, bid about $4.36 billion for it. [ID:nSGE6A00GV] [ID:nSGE70CB7D]

Since then, Miller has lowered his bid by about 10 percent and Exco, which was open to proposals from other parties as well, completed a strategic review without striking any deal. [ID:nN1E7670S1]

Ross had been considering joining in the effort to buy Exco, according to a regulatory filing in February.

The bulk of Exco’s output is natural gas, a fuel with a price burdened by massive supply. The company has oil and natural gas assets in the Haynesville shale in East Texas and North Louisiana, and the Marcellus and Huron shales in Appalachia and the Permian Basin.

EXCO shares closed at $13.86 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Vaishnavi Bala in Bangalore, additional reporting by Megan Davies in New York; Editing by Roshni Menon and John Wallace)

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