NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Linn Energy (LINE) said Friday it would sell a collection of assets in Texas and Oklahoma for $2.3 billion, money to be used to pay down debt taken on when the company acquired properties from Devon Energy (DVN - Get Report) earlier this year.
Houston-based Linn said it would sell its entire position in the Granite Wash and Cleveland oil and gas plays to institutional affiliates of EnerVest Ltd. and joint venture partner FourPoint Energy LLC for $1.95 billion. The company also has a deal in place to sell its Wolfberry positions in the Permian Basin to Fleur de Lis Energy LLC for $350 million.
The Deal first reported the EnerVest transaction Thursday.
The sales come just two months after Linn closed a $2.3 billion acquisition of Devon Energy properties in the Rockies, onshore Gulf Coast and Midcontinent regions of the U.S. Linn said that after the divestitures are complete the company would still have about 6,600 net acres in the Midland Basin, and said it continues to see "strong interest" for a trade or sale of assets in the region.
"One of our goals for 2014 was to maximize value for our Midland Basin and Granite Wash assets in order to reduce the capital intensity and decline rate within our portfolio," Linn chairman and CEO Mark E. Ellis said in a statement. "We believe today's announcements largely accomplish this goal."
EnerVest CEO John Walker telegraphed his company was close to a deal while speaking at a conference in Houston earlier this week. The company is a buyer and seller of oil and gas properties using institutional money, boasting $10 billion under management.
Walker told the conference that he expects demand for natural gas to eventually catch up to supply, noting that $140 billion worth of chemicals plants are being built along the Gulf Coast seeking to use cheap natural gas as feedstock as well as numerous new pipelines. The assets EnerVest is acquiring from Linn include about 145,000 net acres with production of about 195 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day.
The executive in a statement said that the purchase would almost triple his company's position in the Anadarko Basin, and said more deals could follow.
"Once we have closed this acquisition we will have spent more than $3 billion acquiring properties in the mid-continent region together with FourPoint within the last year," Walker said. "We look forward to continued growth in the area."
Dallas-based Fleur de Lis is an energy investment firm backed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP. The company says it has more than $1 billion in available capital to invest in North American energy assets.
RBC Richardson Barr, Scotia Waterous and Wells Fargo are acting as financial advisers to Linn on the EnerVest deal, with RBC Richardson Barr also advising the company on the Fleur de Lis deal.
A Thompson & Knight LLP team led by Arthur Wright is advising EnerVest.
-- Claire Poole in Houston contributed to this report.