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SandRidge Drops Plans to Buy Bonanza Creek After Shareholder Resistance

Setting aside plans to expand its oily side in Colorado's DJ Basin, Oklahoma-based SandRidge Energy Inc. on Thursday canceled plans for a $746 million purchase of Colorado-based Bonanza Creek Energy Inc.

In a joint statement, the two companies said that "consultation with SandRidge's largest shareholders" made it clear that the company's board would not get approval for the transaction at a special meeting. Since the proposed purchase was announced in mid-November, there has been strong opposition from activist investor Carl Icahn and New York-based Fir Tree Partners.

As part of the mutual termination agreement, SandRidge will reimburse Bonanza Creek for up to $3.7 million of transaction-related expenses. "This payment is consistent with the company's obligation under the merger agreement if the transaction had been rejected by shareholders at the special meeting," a SandRidge spokesperson said.

Bonanza board chairman Jack Vaughn expressed disappointment with the termination but stressed that the company will continue to seek ways to develop assets and maximize shareholder value. Vaughn said that Bonanza's operational plans and 2018 capital program will be unveiled in January.

The aborted deal would have involved marrying two unconventional U.S. producers to build their combined Rocky Mountain and Midcontinent stakes in a cash-and-stock transaction. Once combined, Oklahoma City-based SandRidge's operations would have totaled more than 630,000 net acres, mostly across the Rockies and Midcontinent, that now are producing around 55,000 boe/d.

SandRidge's portfolio includes assets in Colorado's North Park, the Mississippian Lime and Oklahoma's STACK, aka the Sooner Trend of Anadarko Basin, mostly in Canadian and Kingfisher counties. Bonanza Creek primarily works in Colorado's Wattenberg field, focused on the Niobrara and Codell formations, and in southern Arkansas within the Cotton Valley Sands.

After the commodity price crash in 2014, both companies filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection. SandRidge emerged as a restructured company in late 2016. Bonanza Creek exited Chapter 11 earlier this year.

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