LINN Energy reports $2.3 billion of asset sales


LINN Energy LLC (Nasdaq:LINE) and LinnCo LLC (Nasdaq:LNCO) report that LINN has signed a definitive agreement to sell its entire position in the Granite Wash and Cleveland plays located in the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma to privately held institutional affiliates of EnerVest Ltd. for a contract price of $1.95 billion.

LINN has also signed a definitive agreement with Fleur de Lis Energy LLC to sell its Wolfberry positions in Ector and Midland counties in the Permian Basin for a contract price of $350 million.

Proceeds from these sales are expected to finance the company's $2.3 billion acquisition of assets from Devon Energy Corp., which closed in August. Both of these sale, announced Oct. 3, are expected to be tax efficient upon successful completion of a reverse 1031 like-kind exchange.

The Granite Wash and Cleveland properties sold include 145,000 net acres, 195 MMcfe/d of current production, 755 Bcfe of year-end 2013 proved reserves, and related midstream facilities. LINN is running a four-rig drilling program and has planned to spend $210 million of capital on these assets in 2014.

The Permian Basin properties sold include 7,200 net acres, 4.6 MBoe/d of current production, and 19 MMBoe of year-end 2013 proved reserves. LINN is running a two-rig vertical drilling program and has planned to spend $95 million of capital on these assets in 2014.

Following the closing of this transaction, LINN will have remaining production of 8.0 MBoe/d and 6,600 net acres in the Midland Basin that are prospective for horizontal Wolfcamp drilling. The company continues to see strong interest in the market for a trade or sale of these assets.

Mark E. Ellis, chairman, president, and CEO, commented, “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. We believe today's announcements largely accomplish this goal. When considered in light of the accretive acquisitions and trades we've announced this year, we are very excited about our business as we move into 2015.”

The sale of Granite Wash and Cleveland properties should close in the fourth quarter of 2014, with an effective date of Sept. 1. The sale of Permian Basin properties is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014, with an effective date of Aug. 1.

RBC Richardson Barr, Scotia Waterous, and Wells Fargo acted as financial advisors to LINN during the Granite Wash and Cleveland play transaction. RBC Richardson Barr acted as the sole financial advisor to LINN during the Permian Basin transaction.

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