Canadian Oil Sands granted one more month to fend off Suncor's hostile bid

Syncrude’s $1.9 billion centrifuge plant, currently under construction. (Image courtesy of Syncrude, via Flickr)

Syncrude’s $1.9 billion centrifuge plant, currently under construction. (Image courtesy of Syncrude, via Flickr)

Canadian Oil Sands (TSX:COS) has just over a month to hold off Suncor Energy (TSX, NYSE:SU) and its hostile bid, says the Alberta Securities Commission which ruled late afternoon today.

The commission said COS's poison pill provision must expire by Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.

Suncor, which is Canada's largest oil producer, has asked the regulator to dismantle a so-called poison pill — an anti-takeover measure — adopted by COS directors in October in response to its  $3.3 billion (Cdn $4.3bn) hostile takeover bid.

The targeted company was hoping to give its shareholders more time to consider their options: 120 days or until early February 2016. Canadian Oil Sands now has less time than it sought.

Suncor has been looking to expand in the Canada’s oil sands amid a prolonged slump in oil prices. In September, it bought an additional 10% interest in the Fort Hills oil sands project in northern Alberta from French oil company Total.

The oil giant’s attempt to buy COS would increase its ownership stake in Syncrude — Canada’s largest synthetic oil project — from 12% to 49%.

The ASC gave no reason for its decision, but will issue at a later date.