unprecedented $42 billion in commitments to finance Elf Aquitaine's reverse hostile bid for Totalfina.

The financial backing includes 41 institutions. Assembling this cast of participants is just the latest installment in what has become a fierce battle for control of France's two biggest oil companies. Totalfina launched a $43 billion hostile bid for Elf Aquitaine on July 5. Elf Aquitaine responded by launching a counter-bid for Totalfina on July 18, at the urging of Goldman, its financial adviser.

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