French oil company Total S.A. (TOT, TTFNF.PK) said that its unit, Total E&P Canada Ltd., raised its bid to acquire UTS Energy Corp. (UTS.TO) to C$1.75 per share from its original offer of C$1.30 per share. Total also extended the expiry date for the offer to April 27 from originally scheduled date of April 16. Meanwhile, West Face Capital, which holds 12% stake in UTS and IG Investment Management that has 3.8% shares reportedly rejected the sweetened offer.

The new offer price represents a premium of about 111% over the closing price of C$0.83 for the common shares on January 27, the last trading day immediately preceding the announcement of the offeror's intention to make the offer.

Calgary, Alberta-based UTS Energy is focused exploration, development and production from the Athabasca oil sands deposits in northeastern Alberta. UTS was instrumental in re-establishing the Fort Hills Oil Sands Project and is the principal founder of the Fort Hills Energy Limited Partnership.

UTS holds a 20% working interest in the Fort Hills Project located north of Fort McMurray. Beyond the Fort Hills Project, through land acquisitions and exploration program, UTS holds 50% working interest in an additional 122,667 hectares of oil sands prospective leases located primarily on the west side of the Athabasca River.

In January, Total E&P came up with an offer to acquire UTS for C$617 million or C$1.30 per share.

After a thorough review, the company's board determined that the Total offer was inadequate and contrary to the best interests of UTS shareholders.

Dennis Sharp, chairman of UTS board, said, This is an inadequate and opportunistic offer that fails to recognize the full value of UTS. We can do better for our shareholders than what this offer represents.

The board also recommended UTS shareholders to reject the Total offer and not to tender their shares to the Total offer.

Last month, UTS board reiterated that shareholders reject Total's unsolicited bid to acquire UTS as being financially inadequate. Furthermore, Total has made no attempt to contact UTS.

UTS Energy is currently trading at $1.83, up 3 cents or 1.67% on a volume of 11.96 million shares. The stock has been moving in a range of $0.67 - $6.28 for the past 52 weeks, with an average daily volume of about 4.30 million shares for the past three months.

TOT is currently trading at $49.42, up 11 cents on a volume of 0.93 million shares.

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