Finance/Companies news briefs, July 18

Meridian Resource ... Shell Louisiana Onshore Properties ... Offshore Data Services ... Petrodata ... OneOffshore ... Lime Rock Partners ... Beacon Group ... TMCT Ventures ... Sapient Energy ... Falcon Creek Resources ... Summit Resources ... Torex Resources


Meridian Resource Corp. and Shell Louisiana Onshore Properties Inc., an affiliate of Shell Exploration & Production Co., signed a definitive agreement granting Meridian an option to repurchase all of the outstanding shares of Meridian preferred stock (convertible into 12.8 million shares of common stock), plus 6 million shares of Meridian common stock, for an aggregate cash price of $114 million. The "option and standstill agreement'' is exercisable in a single transaction through Jan. 31, 2001. As consideration for the option, Meridian will pay 1 million shares of its common stock. If Meridian exercises the option, Shell will still be Meridian's largest shareholder, with about 7.1 million common shares.

Offshore Data Services Inc., Houston, and Petrodata Ltd., Aberdeen, have merged to form a new company to be called OneOffshore Inc. The new entity will provide information and services to companies in the offshore energy arena. Current ODS and PDL publications and services will be continued under the respective names of each company. The merger was announced by John Reynolds, Managing Director of Lime Rock Partners, Westport, Conn. Lime Rock structured the transaction and organized an investor group, led by the Beacon Group and TMCT Ventures, to fund the new enterprise through an initial investment of $16 million. OneOffshore will be headquartered in Houston but will maintain operations in Aberdeen, as well as satellite offices in England, Norway, Singapore, Louisiana, and other locations.

Sapient Energy Corp. has acquired all of the outstanding common stock of privately held, Denver-based Falcon Creek Resources Inc. The transaction involved the issuance of new Sapient Energy Corp. common stock and the assumption of Falcon Creek's debt. Most of Falcon Creek's assets are concentrated in the Permian basin in Lea County, New Mexico. These properties include 125 operated wells producing 5.4 MMcfd of gas and 1,100 b/d of oil net to Sapient. The acquisition of Falcon Creek increases Sapient Energy's net production to about 20 MMcfd of gas and 1,500 b/d of oil.

Summit Resources Ltd., Calgary, agreed to acquire Torex Resources Inc., also of Calgary, for $45 million (Can.), including the assumption of $10 million in debt. Summit will pay $1.25 for each Torex share, which represents a 32% premium to the closing price of Torex's common shares on May 12. The offer is subject to a number of conditions, including acceptance of the offer by at least 66 2/3% of the shareholders of Torex and regulatory approval.

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