Milan: Italy's largest oil and natural gas company ENI yesterday said its British holding company has taken control of 77.42 per cent of shares in Burren Energy, a move that rules out speculation about competing offers.

ENI announced an all cash £1.74 billion agreement to acquire Burren Energy in November, boosting its portfolio in the Congo and the Caspian basin.

ENI said it has acquired 35,136,033 Burren shares representing a 24.9 per cent stake and that its offer for a further 74,114,491 Burren shares, representing a 52.52 per cent stake, has been accepted.

ENI also said it has lowered the acceptance condition of the offer to 50 per cent from 90 per cent of the voting rights attached to Burren's issued share capital.

ENI had offered 1,230 pence per Burren share after the UK company had rejected earlier lower offers.

Burren Energy is an independent oil and gas exploration and production group with assets in the Caspian region, West Africa, the Middle East and India, according to the company's Web site.

ENI, one of the largest energy companies in the world, has made acquisitions this year in the Congo, Angola, the US and Russia as it seeks to boost output and gain a foothold in countries with strong potential upstream production assets.

It operates in 70 countries in the oil and gas, electricity generation, petrochemicals, oilfield services and engineering industries.