Comstock Resources to acquire Covey Park Energy for $2.2 billion
Comstock Resources, Inc. has entered into an agreement with Covey Park Energy LLC where Comstock will acquire Covey Park in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $2.2 billion.
This includes the assumption of Covey Park's outstanding debt and the retirement of Covey Park's existing preferred units which in the aggregate total approximately $1.1 billion. Covey Park is a privately held natural gas company with operations in the core of the Haynesville shale basin.
The acquisition of Covey Park complements and expands Comstock's position in the Haynesville shale and accelerates its progress towards its strategic and financial goals of sustainable free cash flow generation and reduced leverage.
Successful Dallas businessman, Jerry Jones, will remain the Company's largest shareholder with 75% ownership interest and a cumulative investment of $1.1 billion Denham Capital, a prominent energy-focused private equity firm with $9.7 billion in invested and committed capital, becomes the second largest shareholder with approximately 16% common stock ownership interest.
The transaction was unanimously approved by both companies' boards of directors. Upon closing of the transaction, Comstock's Board of Directors will be expanded to include Covey Park's Co-CEO John Jacobi and Jordan Marye, a Managing Partner of Denham Capital. The management team will be led by Comstock's current CEO M. Jay Allison but will include representation from both management teams and will combine the two companies' operating staffs to retain talent and achieve an efficient organisation.
Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys Football Club Ltd., stated: “I am excited to provide the funding and to team up with Denham Capital to combine the two companies to create the basin leader in the Haynesville shale. This combination is another step toward completing my vision to create an industry leading natural gas company.”
Jay Allison, Comstock's Chief Executive Officer, commented: “After a year of evaluating several potential targets in the Haynesville shale, we believe we have found the perfect merger partner. This merger is an excellent fit with our existing acreage and continues our strategic plan of creating significant scale and resource depth in the Haynesville shale basin. The combined company will have a stronger balance sheet, enhanced by a large inventory of high quality, low cost and high return drilling opportunities. In integrating Covey Park we plan to focus on operating efficiency and having a combined drilling program that provides for substantial free cash flow to achieve our goal of reducing our leverage.”
John Jacobi and Alan Levande, Co-CEOs of Covey Park, commented: “We are extremely proud of the company we built in the prolific Haynesville shale basin. We believe the combined company will possess a substantial scale advantage and an excellent foundation for significant organic growth with attractive cash flows going forward.”
Jordan Marye, a Managing Partner at Denham Capital, added: “On behalf of Denham, we look forward to working with Jerry Jones and Comstock as the Company develops the prized assets the Covey Park team has assembled in the core of the Haynesville. We believe the combined teams and the Company's complementary asset base, along with the substantial support from Mr Jones, make Comstock the ideal company to deliver the tremendous value associated with these assets.”
Jerry Jones will invest an additional $475 million in cash for 50,000,000 of newly issued shares of Comstock common stock to be issued at an agreed upon price of $6.00 per share and $175 million of newly issued shares of perpetual convertible preferred stock. The additional equity investment brings Jerry Jones' total investment in Comstock to approximately $1.1 billion.
At closing Comstock will assume Covey Park's existing $625 million 7.5% senior notes, retire amounts outstanding under Covey Park's credit facility, and redeem all outstanding previously issued Covey Park preferred units.
In connection with the transaction, the Company has appointed BMO Capital Markets to arrange an amended and restated $2.5 billion bank credit facility with an initial borrowing base of $1.575 billion and a maturity of five years from closing. The Company plans to elect to set the borrowing base at $1.5 billion at closing. The cash consideration payable in the transaction will be funded through a combination of the equity contribution from Jerry Jones and borrowings under the Company's bank credit facility.
Covey Park's equity owners will receive $700 million in cash, $210 million of a newly issued perpetual convertible preferred stock and 28,833,000 shares of newly issued Comstock common stock at an agreed upon price of $6.00 per share.
The total $385 million in newly issued preferred stock will have a quarterly cash dividend of 10% per annum and can be converted into shares of common stock at a conversion price of $4.00 per share commencing one year from the issue date. The Company will have the right to redeem the preferred stock at any time at face value plus accrued dividends.
The transaction is expected to close on or before 31st July 2019, subject to the satisfaction of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.