EOG Resources Inc. (EOG) - Get Report has agreed to acquire family-owned Yates Petroleum Corp., along with affiliates Abo Petroleum Corp., MYCO Industries Inc. and certain other entities in a cash, stock and debt deal valued at more than $2.45 billion, the parties announced Tuesday.
EOG will issue 26.06 million shares worth $2.3 billion, pay $37 million in cash to Yates' owners, and assume and repay $245 million of Yates debt at closing. The companies expect the debt to be offset by $131 million in cash from Yates.
Wells Fargo Securities LLC was financial adviser to Yates Petroleum, which in 2012 had hired J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to run a sales process for the Artesia, N.M., oil and gas exploration and production company.
With the deal, EOG scoops up 186,000 net acres in West Texas' red hot Delaware Basin, a sub-basin of the area's Permian Basin, bringing its overall position in the play to 424,000 net acres.
The buyer also secures its first foothold in what it pegs as the "emerging" Northwest Shelf plays with 138,000 net acres, and raises its overall holdings in the Permian Basin and adjacent plays to 575,000 acres. The company also said it picked up 200,000 net acres in the Powder River Basin, located in southeast Montana and northeast Wyoming, doubling its net acreage in the play to 574,000.
Assuming a value on proven reserves that are producing and still being developed of about $800 million for the 29.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day EOG said it is picking up with Tuesday's deal (48% of which is expected to be crude oil), the company is shelling out between $7,000 and $8,000 per acre for the Delaware properties, according to analysts of energy-focused investment bank and research firm Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities Inc.
Simmons & Co. International analyst Pearce Hammond sees the deal coming in at the high end of TPH's estimate, which he views as an attractive valuation. The analyst wrote in a Tuesday note that the transaction implies a $8,000 per acre, or $1.5 billion, price tag for the Delaware Basin position alone, assuming a value of $35,000 per barrel of oil equivalent per day value, or $1 billion.
Hammond calculated Tuesday that the deal comes in well below some recent transactions in the lucrative play. Indeed, Diamondback Energy Inc. (FANG) - Get Report in May paid $560 million for Natural Gas Partners LP-backed Luxe Energy to break into West Texas' Southern Delaware Basin. TPH at the time said the deal, which it valued at between $26,000 and $27,000 per acre, set a new high benchmark for the basin versus recent deals that had fetched $10,000 to $20,000 per acre.
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And in August, Denver oil and gas explorer PDC Energy Inc. (PDCE) - Get Report grabbed a foothold in the Delaware Basin by buying Kimmeridge Energy Management Co.-managed Arris Petroleum Corp. and 299 Resources LLC for $1.5 billion. Stifel Financial Corp. analyst Michael Scialla noted then that PDC's deal wasn't cheap at $22,000 per acre.
In the firm's Tuesday note, TPH marked the Powder River Basin and Northwest Shelf assets at $500 per acre and $1,500 per acre, respectively, while Simmons's Hammond chose not to estimate the acreage outside of the Delaware Tuesday.
According to Williams Capital Group LP analyst Gabriele Sorbara, operators historically have tended to drill vertical wells in the Northwest Shelf but now are leaning toward horizontal wells in various zones. Still, rates and estimated ultimate recoveries are not as large in the New Mexico shelf as in the Delaware, Sorbara said, but he admitted this disparity could change with new technology and completion methods.
Overall, both TPH and Simmons view the deal positively, with Simmons calling EOG's decision to issue shares to pay for the transaction, largely preserving the $779 million in cash and cash equivalents on the balance sheet as of June 30, a smart move. The market agreed Tuesday, sending EOG's shares up by more than 5% to above $94 apiece.
The deal, which has been approved by the boards of EOG and Yates, as well as the latter's stockholders, is expected to close in early October. EOG plans to commence drilling in the Yates acreage in late 2016 and said it will add rigs in 2017.
Thompson & Knight LLP provided legal counsel to the seller while Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk PA provided legal counsel to Abo Petroleum, and Kemp Smith LLP assisted MYCO Industries on the sale.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP provided outside legal counsel to EOG on the transaction.
—Claire Poole contributed to this report.
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