Energy

Buyout firm EnCap Investments agrees $1.5 bln purchase of EP Energy -sources

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Aug 11 (Reuters) - Private equity firm EnCap Investments has agreed to acquire EP Energy for $1.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said, less than a year after the oil and gas producer emerged from a bankruptcy process that handed control to its creditors.

EnCap plans to split EP, which holds production assets in South Texas and Northeastern Utah, into its separate geographies and merge them with existing portfolio companies, according to the sources.

The Utah assets, in the Uinta Basin, will be merged with XCL Resources, while the operations in Texas' Eagle Ford will be combined with an EnCap company with acreage in the area, the sources added.

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EnCap, EP and XCL did not respond to comment requests. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the information is not public.

EP filed for bankruptcy in October 2019, but its attempts to restructure were impacted by the cratering of oil prices in early 2020. Like many U.S. energy producers whose finances were decimated by the collapse, EP gave shares in a newly-constituted company in exchange for eliminating $4.4 billion of debt.

Having emerged from bankruptcy in October 2020, EP said in March it had selected Credit Suisse Group (CSGN.S) and Jefferies Financial Group (JEF.N) to explore a sale of the company.

Rebounding crude oil prices, which have surged 40% so far this year as improved economic sentiment bolsters energy demand, has sparked mergers and acquisitions activity. This has allowed shareholders in formerly-bankrupt companies to exit their investments. read more

Reuters reported in June that EnCap was among the interested parties, with fellow buyout firm Quantum Energy Partners and privately-owned Validus Energy also seeking to acquire some or all of EP. read more

EP had 115,000 net acres and produced from over 900 wells in the Eagle Ford at the end of 2020, while its Utah assets spanned 155,000 net acres and had production from over 400 wells.

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Reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru and David French in New York; editing by David Evans

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