Mitchell Says Buyers Interested

The Woodlands, TX-based Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. is attracting interest from potential buyers, according to founder and CEO George Mitchell, 81. Mitchell, speaking to reporters following the company's annual meeting Wednesday, would not confirm nor deny that the company is considering offers. "We'll see what happens," he said.

COO Bill Stevens also was coy with reporters, but admitted that with the wave of consolidation in the energy industry, the time for buying and selling is now. CEO Mitchell announced in early April that he would sell some of his 57% interest in the company, translating into about 4.5 million of his personal company shares for $53 apiece (see NGI, April 9).

Under the plan, Mitchell would retain about 45%. Mitchell stock closed above $54 last week. Analysts said that with Mitchell selling some of his personal stock, the company would be more attractive to outside investors.

About 75% of Mitchell's 1.5 Tcf of gas reserves are in its Barnett Shale property in North Texas, a region the company has drilled in for almost 50 years.

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