Lawyers in Dallas, Houston and Austin worked on a $740 million oil and gas divestiture announced this week that some thought might not happen: QEP Resources’ sale of its natural gas properties in southwest Wyoming to Pinedale Energy Partners.
Baker Botts assisted Pinedale Energy, an affiliate of Kayne Anderson-backed Oak Ridge Natural Resources of Tulsa. The team included M&A partner Larry Hall in Dallas, M&A associate John Craven in Houston, tax partner Stephen Marcus in Dallas, tax senior associate Aaron Pinegar in Dallas, M&A associate Alastair Papworth in Houston, environmental partner Aileen Hooks in Austin, employee benefits partner Mark Bodron in Houston and tax partner Matthew Larsen in Dallas. The firm also had assistance from its Washington, D.C., office.
Hall joined Baker Botts in March from Thompson & Knight, where he worked on M&A and private equity deals, including representing Oak Ridge when it received a $300 million equity commitment from Kayne Anderson in 2015. He also did acquisition work for Natural Gas Partners-backed Tecolote Energy in Tulsa and Dallas-based RSP Permian. Before Thompson & Knight, he practiced for nearly 20 years at Conner & Winters in Tulsa.
Vinson & Elkins M&A partner John B. Connally IV, senior associate Tan Lu and associates Megan Savage and Michael Zarcaro in Houston provided outside legal advice to Denver-based QEP. Other members of team included tax partners Todd Way and associate Julia Pashi in Dallas, environmental partner Larry Nettles in Houston, labor/employment partner Sean Becker in Houston, executive compensation/benefits partner Stephen Jacobson in Houston, finance partners Steve Tarry in Houston and Brett Santoli in New York and transaction and regulatory counsel Damien Lyster in Washington. QEP’s general counsel is Christopher Woosley, who previously practiced at Cooper Newsome & Woosley in Tulsa.
Connally has represented QEP before, including in 2012 when it bought oil and gas properties in North Dakota’s Williston Basin from several sellers for $1.38 billion. He and Lu also represented QEP in 2014 when it sold oil and gas assets in the Cana-Woodford and Granite Wash plays in Texas’ and Oklahoma’s Western Anadarko Basin for $772 million.
Wells Fargo Securities’ David Humphreys and Daniel Rojo, both in Houston, advised the buyer while BMO Capital Markets assisted QEP.
QEP also sold certain non-core natural gas assets in the same area to an undisclosed buyer for $37.5 million.
Analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. said the price tag for the sale came in at the low end of expectations and recent transactions in the area. The firm thinks QEP will use the proceeds to reduce debt or even purchase properties in West Texas’ and New Mexico’s Permian basin. It already owns some properties in the Midland Basin.
Simmons & Co. International analyst Kashy Harrison said the sale should be well received, “especially given fears from within the investment community that the transaction would not occur.”