KKR’s Samson Resources files bankruptcy, lenders to take control: Reuters

Oil and gas producer Samson Resources Corp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday to carry out a debt-cutting plan reached with key lenders, who will assume control of the company.

The company, owned by private-equity firm KKR & Co, listed assets and liabilities of more than $1 billion in its bankruptcy filing.

Samson’s bankruptcy comes four years after the company agreed to be acquired in a leveraged buyout led by KKR, for $7.2 billion. KKR and its partners on the buyout made a big bet on the future of shale oil and gas, investing $4.15 billion in equity on the deal. The rest was funded with debt.

Lenders agreed to cut Samson’s obligations by swapping the $1 billion they are owed for nearly all of the company’s newly issued stock. They will also invest $450 million in Samson.

The investment by lenders may be further increased, under certain circumstances, by $35 million to improve liquidity, Samson said.

By filing with the support of the lenders, Samson could be able to implement its restructuring plan in the next few months. The plan must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

The group of lenders includes affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, Columbia Management, Credit Suisse, Eaton Vance Management, Invesco Ltd, New York Life Insurance Co and Silver Point Capital.

Samson follows many smaller commodity producers and related services firms into bankruptcy, including Sabine Oil & Gas, Alpha Natural Resources, Hercules Offshore, Quicksilver Resources and Dune Energy. Crude oil prices have fallen more than 50 percent since the middle of 2014, to less than $50 per barrel. Coal and natural gas prices have also dropped sharply.

As part of its bankruptcy plan, Samson is expected to continue to shed non-core assets that are mostly located in Oklahoma to focus on its best wells in East Texas and North Dakota, according to a plan disclosed prior to its bankruptcy.

Samson, which is represented by Kirkland & Ellis LLP, has hired Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P. and Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC as its restructuring advisers.

The case is in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, Case No: 73-0928007.

(Reporting By Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Aurindom Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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