The majority of Tulsa-based oil and gas exploration and production company Samson Investment Co. is poised to be bought by a private equity group led by KKR & Co. for $7 billion, making it one of the largest private-equity takeovers of all time, according to press reports.

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported that a deal to acquire Samson could be announced Tuesday — or it could fall through. Samson and KKR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Key producing regions for Samson are in East Texas and the Texas Gulf Coast, as well as the Anadarko, Permian, San Juan, Green River and Williston basins. “Samson operates more than 4,000 wells and has interests in more than 11,000 wells,” the company said on its website. “Production operations are a core strength at Samson and the company operates more than 80% of its total production.”

The company also said it has “competitive advantages” in a number of resource plays and is active in the Granite Wash, Bakken, Haynesville, Deep Bossier, Woodford and Marcellus plays.

In 2009 KKR invested $350 million in privately held East Resources Inc., considered one of the most active players in the Marcellus Shale (see Daily GPI, June 10, 2009).

One year later KKR said it would invest up to $400 million in Hilcorp Resources Inc., a newly formed partnership created to own and develop 100,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas leased by privately held Hilcorp Energy Co. (see Daily GPI, June 15, 2010). Last June Marathon Oil Corp. agreed to pay $3.5 billion for the KKR-Hilcorp acreage in the Eagle Ford (see Daily GPI, June 2). It was one of the priciest transactions to date in any U.S. shale play.

Also in 2010, KKR and El Paso Corp. formed a joint venture to invest in midstream assets in the Eagle Ford and Marcellus (see Daily GPI, Dec. 8, 2010).

In June Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. agreed to sell substantially all of its Barnett Shale Tier 1 properties to KKR Natural Resources, a partnership of an affiliate of KKR and Premier Natural Resources, for $104 million. The approximately 13,000 acres included 75 gross (58.5 net) wells currently producing at an approximate gross rate of 15.7 MMcfe/d (8.3 MMcfe/d net). Estimated proved reserves amounted to 122.4 Bcfe, 55% of which are proved undeveloped, as determined by Carrizo’s third-party engineers at year-end 2010.

And in January KKR said it had acquired Barnett Shale properties from ConocoPhillips.

KKR in 2007 put together what was then considered the largest leveraged buyout ever when it purchased Texas-based utility TXU Corp. for $32 billion (see Daily GPI, Sept. 10, 2007).

Last month The Wall Street Journal reported that Samson was in play after stating that it was “considering strategic options” (see Daily GPI, Oct. 12).

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