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5 Most Crazy Company Sellers Since the Financial Crisis


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Devon Energy (DVN)

After losing more than $2 billion in 2008 and 2009, Devon Energy has used crisis asset sales to sharpen its focus on onshore oil and gas prospects, while spinning riskier deepwater oil drilling assets literally months before the devastating BP (BP) Macondo oil spill. As a result, Devon's been able to double its cash from pre-crisis levels, cut its debt and consolidate its most strategic oil and gas assets.

In March 2010, Devon Energy sold some of its deepwater portfolio in the Gulf of Mexico to BP for $7 billion just over a month before the British oil giant had a well blowout that led to the worst man made environmental catastrophe in U.S. history. Previous to the blowout, Devon also sold billions more of Gulf of Mexico deepwater assets to Maersk and to Apache (APC). The sales turned out to be fortunate as companies with a deepwater focus saw their shares fall precipitously in the aftermath of the BP spill.

While, Devon made eleven divestitures during the crisis and made no acquisitions that drew in over $10 billion, its now found the cash to develop a balance of onshore drilling prospects. Currently, Devon counts on onshore gas production for over 66% of revenue and oils for another 30%. In 2010, Devon earned its first profit since the recession taking in $4.5 billion in net earnings. Nine months into 2011, the company's already eclipsed its 2010 profit.

Shares, however have fallen 14% year-to-date as a result of falling commodity prices. In April, Devon Energy's stock rose to a post-crisis high of $93.56 -- but they've fallen by a third since.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York.

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