Linn Energy LLC and LinnCo LLC plans to acquire Berry Petroleum Co. for $4.3 billion, including the assumption of debt, in a stock-for-stock merger of Berry with LinnCo to be followed by Linn’s acquisition of the Berry assets.
Terms call for Berry to be converted into a limited liability company and then contributed to Linn in exchange for Linn units. This arrangement allows Linn to own Berry’s assets in a pass-through entity without any immediate payment of tax.
Linn is acquiring assets in California, the Permian basin, East Texas, the Rockies, and Uinta basin. Production for the assets being acquired is 240 MMcfd of gas equivalent, increasing Linn’s current production by 30%. Berry’s reserves are 75% oil.
The boards of Linn Energy, LinnCo, and Berry unanimously approved the transaction, which remains subject to the approval of Berry and LinnCo shareholders as well as the unitholders of Linn Energy. The transaction also hinges on customary closing conditions, including antitrust clearance.
Plans call for the combined company to be based in Houston. LinnCo previously was created to enhance Linn Energy’s ability to raise additional equity capital to execute on its acquisition and growth strategy.