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Investments on the LINE

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What an exciting time it is to be a shareholder of Linn Energy (LINE) or its kissing cousin Linn Co. (LNCO).

The only shareholders you'd think would be more excited are those of independent energy company Berry Petroleum (BRY). That because on Thursday LINE offered to buy BRY for $2.42 billion in stock to increase its proven reserves by 34%. Shares of BRY surged 19% on the news and were up another 2% on very heavy volume Friday, closing at $46.95.

LINE moved up 2.8% on Thursday and another 2.14% on Friday, ending the week at $38.49. LNCO surged over 5% on Thursday's announcement and moved another 0.69% higher on Friday, closing at $39.27, not far away from its 52-week high of $40.40.

According to a Bloomberg report Thursday, Berry shareholders will get 1.25 shares of publicly traded LNCO, "...a corporation whose only assets are units of Linn Energy, according to a joint statement released [Thursday]. That values Berry at $46.24 a share, a 20% premium to [Wednesday's] closing price. LinnCo will sell the Berry assets to Linn Energy in exchange for additional partnership units."

As of Dec. 31, 2011, BRY had working interests in 2,867 net productive oil wells and 282 net productive natural gas wells, and proved undeveloped reserves of 130.1 million barrels of oil equivalent. It sells its crude oil and gas to marketing companies or refiners. The company is also involved in the generation and sale of electricity to public utilities. Berry Petroleum was founded in 1909 and is headquartered in Denver.

LINE's all-stock transaction has been beneficial to its credit ratings but still caused BRY's stock to be put under review by Moody's Investors Service. Just before the market's close on Friday, Moody's affirmed its B1 corporate family rating for Linn Energy and apparently downgraded the outlook for the oil and gas company to developing from negative due to its plans to buy BRY.

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