NEW YORK (AP) _ Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp. confirmed today that they are talking about a possible merger that would create the world’s largest oil company, but said no deal has been reached yet.
Reports surfaced this week that Exxon was negotiating to buy Mobil, which has a current market value of about $61 billion. A combination of the two would leapfrog Royal Dutch-Shell Group of Cos. as the world’s biggest energy company and would also surpass General Motors Corp. as the largest U.S. company in terms of revenue.
In a short joint statement, Mobil and Exxon said they could not guarantee a deal would be reached. They declined further comment.
Oil companies have been battered by plunging prices and analysts have been predicting widespread consolidation in the industry since British Petroleum announced its surprise $49 billion agreement to purchase Amoco Corp. in August.
An Exxon-Mobil would likely surpass the BP-Amoco deal and would also reunite two pieces of the storied Standard Oil Trust monopoly that was broken up by the government nearly 90 years ago.
Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, ranks only behind Royal Dutch-Shell among the world’s oil companies, while Mobil, based Fairfax, Va., is the second-largest U.S. oil and gas group after Exxon and the fourth-largest in the world.