BP's Hayward in Middle East; Investment Rumors Fly

Tony Hayward
Tony Hayward

Embattled BP (BP) CEO Tony Hayward traveled to Abu Dhabi to meet business partners, with rumors flying that the company is seeking to raise funds to help the company pay for the cleanup operation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hayward arrived in the Emirati capital on Tuesday and plans to stay "a couple of days," company spokesman Andrew Gowers told the Associated Press. Gowers declined to comment on whether Hayward would be meeting with investment funds.

BP's shares rallied earlier this week on speculation that the company was seeking investment partners from the Middle East to help fend off potential takeover bids. BP has said it would welcome new investors but does not plan to issue new stock to help pay for the clean-up.

The company's shares have lost around 50% of their value since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 workers and left a ruptured BP well spewing crude oil into the Gulf.

Also Wednesday, BP confirmed that it had received a letter from the U.S. Justice Department demanding advance notice of any asset sales or significant cash transfers. Normally, the Justice Department does not require notice of such deals.

"We have received the letter, and have not yet responded," BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams told the AP. "We will be responding in due course."