November 1, 2011 / 6:07 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-KKR in talks to buy most of Samson - sources

* KKR likely won’t want Gulf assets-source

* KKR bid could be in $7 bln range - source

* Deal could still fall apart - sources

By Michael Erman and Greg Roumeliotis

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Private equity company KKR & Co is in exclusive talks to buy most of Samson Investment Co, a privately held U.S. oil and gas company, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The private equity firm is not likely to want Samson’s Gulf of Mexico assets, one of the sources said.

While the whole company could be worth $8 billion to $10 billion, KKR’s bid without the Gulf Of Mexico assets is likely to be in the range of $7 billion, that source said.

KKR is still doing due diligence and the deal could fall apart, both sources said.

Samson, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, operates more than 4,000 wells and has interests in more than 11,000 wells, according to the company’s website.

The company is also active in possibly lucrative regions like the Granite Wash, Bakken, Haynesville, Deep Bossier, Woodford and Marcellus.

These regions may hold vast quantities of oil and gas locked in shale or other underground formations but are more expensive to tap than traditional oil and gas fields.

The sale process of Samson has been underway for months. Sources told Reuters last month that the company hired investment bank Jefferies Group Inc to advise on the process.

KKR has had recent success with energy investments. Marathon Oil Corp in June struck a deal to buy oil and gas properties in Texas’ Eagle Ford shale field for $3.5 billion from KKR and Hilcorp. With the sale, KKR nearly tripled the investment it made just a year ago.

In an unrelated statement, KKR said on Tuesday it had hired two former Jefferies bankers — Clare Scobee Farley and David Rockecharlie — as managing directors in its energy and infrastructure business. Farley and Rockecharlie have been working with KKR since last year on opportunities to invest in unconventional energy resources.

Samson, which has more than 1,200 employees, was founded by Charles Schusterman in 1971. His daughter Stacy Schusterman is currently Chief Executive of the company.

KKR declined to comment. Samson could not be immediately reached for comment.

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