Baytex to buy Australia's Aurora Oil & Gas for C$2.6 billion

CALGARY, Alberta Thu Feb 6, 2014 5:08pm EST

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CALGARY, Alberta Feb 6 (Reuters) - Baytex Energy Corp , a Canadian heavy oil producer, said on Thursday it will buy Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd for C$2.6 billion ($2.35 billion) to add production from the prolific Eagle Ford shale oil region of Texas.

Baytex is offering A$4.10 for each share of the Perth, Australia-based oil producer, a 53 percent premium to its closing price on Thursday. Baytex said it will pay a total C$1.8 billion for the shares and assume C$744 million of Aurora's long-term debt.

The acquisition, which will be funded in part with a C$1.3 billion share issue underwritten by Scotiabank and RBC Capital markets, will bring to Baytex Aurora's 22,200 acres of exploration lands and 166.6 million barrels of reserves in the Sugarkane field in south Texas, which Baytex says lies in the heart of the Eagle Ford region.

"Baytex will acquire premier acreage in the core of the Eagle Ford, one of the leading shale oil plays in the (United States)," James Bowzer, Baytex's chief executive, said in a statement.

Aurora produces 24,678 barrels of oil equivalent per day, just more than half the 57,100 boepd Baytex produced last year.

The acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies. Aurora's shareholders are expected to vote on the offer in April or May.

Baytex shares rose 47 Canadian cents to C$41.63 before being halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange late on Thursday. The deal was announced after markets closed.

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