EQT Corporation agreed to acquire Rice Energy in $6.7bn cash and stock deal that will combine two of America’s largest natural gas producers.
As part of the transaction, Rice shareholders will receive 0.37 shares of EQT common stock and $5.30 in cash, the two companies said in a statement. EQT will take on about $1.5bn of net debt as part of the deal.
This is one of the first major upstream deals in several years but the latest in a series of large oil and gas deals, as rising energy prices have led companies to make bold acquisitions to fill the gaps created when commodity prices plummeted.
More than 20 deals worth more $50bn have been agreed in the US so far this year, up from $35bn during the same period in 2016, according to Dealogic data.
The energy sector is thirsty for finance executives with deal-making skills as rising oil prices spur merger activity and companies seek to fill vacancies created during the market bust.
“This transaction brings together two of the top Marcellus and Utica producers to form a natural gas operating position that will be unmatched in the industry,” said Steve Schlotterbeck, EQT’s chief executive.
“Rice has built an outstanding company with an acreage footprint that is largely contiguous to our existing acreage, which will provide substantial synergies and make this transaction significantly accretive in the first year.”