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Clayton Williams Energy sells to Noble for $2.7B

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Houston-based independent producer Noble Energy said late Monday it's acquiring Midland, Texas-based Clayton Williams Energy in a $2.7 billion cash-and-stock deal, expanding its Delaware Basin footprint.

As a result of the combination, Noble will become the second-largest acreage holder in the Delaware Basin with almost 120,000 net acres in the Delaware core, said David L. Stover, the company's chairman, president and CEO.

The price tag for the deal, Noble said, is a 34 percent premium for Clayton Williams shareholders, as of its January 13 closing price.

Under terms of the proposed transaction, Noble will issue around 55 million shares of stock, exchanging 2.7874 shares of its stock for each Clayton Williams share, in addition to distributing a total of $665 million in cash, or $34.75 per Clayton Williams share.

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The acquisition of Clayton Williams includes 71,000 highly contiguous net acres in the core of the Southern Delaware Basin plus an additional 100,000 net acres in other areas of the Permian.

The buyer's immediate base plan is to increase the output from the newly acquired acreage from the current 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent, of them 70 percent oil, to 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent by 2020.

Noble Energy said it would fund the cash portion of the acquisition through a draw on its revolving credit facility, which stood untouched at $4 billion at the end of 2016, and expects to raise above $1 billion in 2017 through ongoing portfolio management and optimization. The deal will bring annual cost savings to Noble of roughly $75 million. Evercore and Goldman, Sachs & Co. were financial advisers to Clayton Williams Energy and Latham & Watkins LLP was its legal adviser.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

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