SM Energy Company (NYSE:SM) today announced that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire 35,700 net acres in Howard and Martin Counties in West Texas, expanding the Company’s Midland Basin footprint to approximately 82,450 net acres. The acquired acreage complements, and is partially contiguous to, the Company’s recently closed Howard County acreage acquisition and includes approximately 2,400 Boe per day net production. The purchase price is $1.1 billion cash, subject to customary purchase price adjustments, plus 13.4 million shares of SM common stock to be issued to the seller. The seller is QStar LLC, a portfolio company of EnCap Investments L.P. and a related entity. The Company also announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its Williston Basin assets located outside of Divide County for $785 million, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. The purchaser is Oasis Petroleum Inc.
President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Ottoson comments: “Our strategy is straight-forward, we intend to deliver growth in cash flow per debt-adjusted share by being a premier operator of top tier assets. We have established a position as an outstanding operator in the Midland Basin, and with this acquisition we also establish significant scale. We are particularly excited about the performance and future potential of Howard County, leading us to further core up our portfolio and focus on this fast emerging, top tier area.
“As with our initial Howard County acquisition, we expect to immediately employ our operational expertise to the area. Our preliminary plans for Midland Basin activity include adding a fourth rig during the fourth quarter of 2016 and increasing to six rigs in early 2017, thereby increasing our expected aggregate 2016 capital program before acquisitions to approximately $710 million. We continue to work to concentrate capital on the highest return programs and generate higher company-wide margins, which drive cash flow growth and value creation for our shareholders.”
The Company plans to fund the majority of the $1.1 billion cash portion of the acquisition with the proceeds from the Williston Basin asset sale and the remainder under the Company’s revolving line of credit, which has a borrowing base of $1.35 billion, aggregate commitments of $1.25 billion and was undrawn as of October 14, 2016. The Company is issuing to the sellers $500 million in SM Energy common stock based on the 30-day volume-weighted average price of $37.35 per share, or approximately 13.4 million shares. Further, the Company remains on track with the planned sale of its non-operated assets in the Eagle Ford program, which we expect will be a potential source of funding for the acceleration of activity in the Permian Basin over the coming years.
Mr. Ottoson adds: “We are delighted to have QStar/EnCap as new shareholders and believe their desire to take a significant portion of the consideration in stock is a strong vote of confidence in the quality of the QStar acreage and in our Company.
QStar CEO Gerald Carman comments: “SM Energy will have one of the largest, highest-quality leasehold positions in the Midland Basin, pro forma the QStar transaction, and we believe SM’s operations team is ideally suited to optimize the long-term value of QStar’s excellent asset base. SM is successfully executing a transformation that we view as under-appreciated by the market, and this transaction provides our management team and sponsor significant upside exposure as we will be among SM’s largest shareholders.”
The acquisition is expected to close mid-December, 2016, with an effective date of September 1, 2016, and the divestiture is expected to close early-December, with an effective date of October 1, 2016. Both transactions will be subject to customary purchase price adjustments and subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, and there can be no assurance that either transaction will close on the expected closing date or at all.
Petrie Partners served as exclusive financial advisor to SM Energy in connection with both of the transactions. Jefferies LLC served as sole financial advisor to QStar and EnCap Investments, L.P.