Paris/Copenhagen — Total is buying Maersk Oil in a $7.45bn deal that the French oil major says will boost its earnings and cash flow, and bolster its dividend prospects. Danish company AP Moller Maersk is selling its Maersk Oil division to Total to focus on other activities including its shipping business. Under the terms of the deal, AP Moller Maersk will get $4.95bn in Total shares and Total will assume $2.5bn of Maersk Oil’s debt. Maersk said it planned to return a "material portion of the value of the received Total shares" to shareholders in 2018 and 2019, in the form of extraordinary dividend, share buyback or distribution of shares in Total. The world’s top oil companies have been back on the takeover trail over the past year, helped by signs of a recovery in the oil market. The sale comes with Maersk in the midst of a major restructuring to concentrate on its transport and logistics businesses and separate its energy operations in the face of a drop in income. "This transact...

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