Shareholders have approved Devon Energy’s $5.3 billion purchase of Ocean Energy, which makes Devon one of the largest North American independent producers of oil and gas with an enterprise value of more than $20 billion and 2.2 billion boe of proved reserves.

The Ocean purchase is the latest in a long string of about $20 billion in recent acquisitions that have included Santa Fe Snyder, Pennzoil and Mitchell Energy. But Ocean is a bit different than the others in that it had a strong focus on the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and a larger position overseas.

Before the Ocean purchase, Devon had a strong North American onshore position, with significant coal-bed methane and black-shale activities, and a presence in the U.S. Rocky Mountains, Midcontinent, Permian Basin and in Canada. Ocean, in contrast, brings the largest lease position of any independent in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, plus positions in Canada and other international areas, such as Equatorial Guinea, the Panyu Development in China, and Azerbaijan.

The new company’s pro forma production still is 90% North American and only 10% international. It totals 653,000 boe/d, including 2.4 Bcf/d of gas. It also holds more than 27 million net undeveloped acres worldwide.

Devon CEO J. Larry Nichols highlighted the “broad array of drill-bit growth opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico and abroad” because of the merger. COO James T. Hackett, Ocean’s former CEO, noted the increased “financial strength to accelerate our exploration and development activities.”

Ocean Energy also brought with it a lower debt-to-capitalization ratio than Devon had, and as a result, Nichols predicted in February that the long-term debt-to-cap ratio for the combined company would be 52% compared to Devon’s current 61%, and possibly would fall below 50% by the end of the year. He also estimated the merger would result in synergies of $50 million, and he predicted a multi-year growth rate between 4-6%.

In the merger transaction, each Ocean common share was converted into 0.414 of a share of Devon common stock and Ocean became a subsidiary of Devon. Conversion requires issuance of 74 million additional Devon common shares, resulting in total shares outstanding of 231 million. The transaction also including the assumption of $1.8 billion in debt.

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