Is Chesapeake Energy for Sale? And Who Might Buy It?

  • Joe Wertz

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Chesapeake Energy's Oklahoma City campus.

The Oklahoma City natural gas giant has been battered by a decade-low natural gas price and investigations into CEO Aubrey McClendon’s personal finances.

The country’s No. 2 natural gas producer is more than $13 billion in debt and may be facing a cash shortfall.

And it might be a heck of a deal, a fund manager tells Bloomberg.

The undervalued stock price hooked billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who recently bought a 7.6% stake of the company for about $785 million. Icahn has invested in Chesapeake before, but sold his interest when shares were $30, a move that reportedly netted the investor $500 million.

Icahn is already pushing to break up the board.

Despite the recent drama, Chesapeake has very desirable assets, Bloomberg reports. And other companies might want to buy in and bet on natural gas prices rebounding.

Tara Lachapelle, Jim Polson and Joe Carroll report:

“For any of the major integrated oil companies that want to pick up reserves on the cheap, this would be a good one,” said Peter Sorrentino, who helps oversee $14.7 billion at Huntington in Cincinnati.

Some potential buyers, according to the Bloomberg report: Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell.

So is Chesapeake for sale? From Bloomberg:

Michael Kehs, a spokesman for Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake, declined to comment on whether the company is for sale, may be for sale or has been in talks with potential buyers of the whole company.

Exxon, Chevron and Shell also declined comment to the news service.