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EXCO Gives Up On Sale

The EXCO Resources Inc. board of directors is ending its bid to sell the company.

"We conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives available to the company," a special committee formed by the board said Friday. "As that process did not result in a transaction the special committee determined it is in the best interests of the company and all of its shareholders, the special committee has decided to terminate the process."

The Dallas-based operator launched the process after CEO David Miller offered to buy the company last October. Working with investment firms Oaktree Capital Management LP and Ares Management LLC and oilman T. Boone Pickens, Miller offered to buy all outstanding stock in the company for $20.50/share, a 38% premium over the price at the time (see Shale Daily, Nov. 8, 2010; Nov. 2, 2010).

Combined, those players already owned nearly 30% of the company. The deal would have been worth about $4.4 billion and would have made the company privately owned.

The EXCO board formed a special committee to consider the offer. The committee hired Barclays Capital Inc. and Evercore Partners as independent advisers in November and in January began considering its options (see Shale Daily, Jan. 14). Those options included selling the company to Miller, soliciting offers from other interested parties and remaining an independent public company.

On Wednesday, though, Miller made a new offer, proposing to buy 81% of the company for $18.50/share, according to the special committee. Although requiring less money, the new offer would have kept a minority portion of the company publicly held.

But while Miller outlined a plan for raising the capital needed to fund the deal, he provided no financing commitments and also did not outline how his investors would run the company or protect the remaining public shares, according to the special committee.

The committee ultimately rejected the offer, and because it did not receive any better offers, ended the search, as well.

EXCO stock skyrocketed following the announcement last fall, peaking at $20.95/share in early May. The price collapsed to $17.44/share following news of Miller's new offer and fell again following the subsequent decision not to pursue a sale.

Although primarily focused on the Haynesville/Bossier Shale, EXCO also operates in the Marcellus Shale and the Permian Basin.

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