Magnum Hunter near closing Utica JV with private equity fund

Magnum Hunter Corp., Houston, filed US Securities and Exchange Commission documents indicating a tentative letter of intent for a Utica shale joint venture involving an undisclosed private equity fund for $430 million.

A definitive agreement was expected within 30-45 days with closing expected 15-30 days after that.

During an Aug. 7 earnings call, executives said they were close to reaching two deals, one of which was the Utica JV and one of which could prove to be a transaction involving the Eureka Hunter pipeline.

Gary Evans, Magnum Hunter chief executive officer, previously said the company was working on numerous strategic alternatives to enhance Magnum Hunter’s liquidity this year, including the possible sale of its equity in Eureka Hunter Holdings LLC.

On Aug. 7, Evans said he was negotiating with a third party on a joint venture to which Magnum Hunter would contribute certain Utica shale unproved, undeveloped leasehold acreage in Ohio in return for a combination of upfront cash and financing for future expenditures.

In total, Magnum Hunter has 200,000 acres under lease in the Marcellus and Utica shales although it has not drilled a well since January to preserve capital.

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