Repsol and YPF (A): A Perfect Marriage?
Back in 1999, the Spanish oil company Repsol purchased 98 percent of the Argentine oil company YPF’s shares for more than $15 billion and changed its name to Repsol-YPF. At the time, the New York Times said the deal “appears to be a perfect marriage” and asked, “Repsol-YPF: As Good as It Gets?” However, on April 16, 2012, that “perfect marriage” was effectively annulled when Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced that her government was expropriating YPF. “The model chosen for the future of YPF is not nationalization,” said Fernández, “but recovery of sovereignty and control of hydrocarbons.”
This case explores, in three parts, the background to the expropriation of YPF; the responses considered by Repsol; and Repsol’s ultimate decision to fight the expropriation, which resulted in its receiving $5 billion in guaranteed bonds from the Argentine government.