Is Range Resources for Sale?

An interesting rumor is making the rounds that Range Resources is about to be sold:

Shares of Fort Worth-based Range Resources spiked sharply Wednesday on speculation that the company might be acquired by an international oil giant such as Royal Dutch Shell or Exxon Mobil.

Range’s stock (ticker: RRC) skyrocketed in morning trading, rising as much as 19 percent, or $12.35 a share, to $77.24. By late afternoon, the price had greatly moderated, and the stock closed at $67.96, up $3.07.

Range officials declined to comment about the acquisition rumors, following a long-standing policy. One source familiar with the company, who requested anonymity, called the speculation "baseless."

Officials of Royal Dutch Shell, based in The Hague, could not be reached. Exxon Mobil spokesman Alan T. Jeffers said in an e-mail that the Irving-based company doesn’t "comment on market rumors or speculation." The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources as saying that Range hasn’t been formally approached by Shell.

Range, a large independent natural gas and oil producer, is considered a potentially attractive acquisition because of its extensive lease holdings of about 1.2 million net acres and growing production in the Marcellus Shale.*

*Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Sep 21, 2011) – Shares of Range Resources jump on acquisition rumors