Highest Bid for Norse Energy $2.65M – Was it Sold & Who Bid?

soldOn Friday two major stories developed involving Norse Energy. You may recall Norwegian-based Norse Energy rolled the dice and placed all their bets on shale drilling in New York State, leasing some 180,000 acres, of which 130,000 acres are in the Marcellus and/or Utica Shale region. Never in their wildest dreams did Norse believe it would take six years or more for the state to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Things started to go downhill for Norse when landowners sued to say Norse did not have the right to continue the leases indefinitely (beyond five years) because of New York’s tardiness in approving fracking (see New Rough Patch for Norse Energy: Force Majeure Lawsuit). Eventually the state’s ongoing moratorium on fracking led to Norse’s bankruptcy (see Lights Turned Off, Door Closed – Good Night, Norse Energy). Norse sued the state to force it to release fracking regulations so their remaining asset, the leases, could be sold for at least some value to compensate investors (see Norse Energy Sues Gov. Cuomo to Force Release of Fracking Regs).

Here’s where it gets complicated. On Friday in U.S. bankruptcy court, three bids for the leases and other company assets were unsealed. The highest was for $2.65 million–which is pennies on the dollar compared to the value of the company just a year ago before NY’s action forced it into bankruptcy. The New York Post reported the company behind the winning bid was hedge fund Mason Capital. From what MDN is able to determine, that may not be correct. The highest bid was from Any Acquisition, LLC–which may or may not be backed by Mason Capital. More important, there has been no official word that the judge awarded the sale to anyone on Friday. Below we tackle a complex deal-in-the-making and sort it out with help from our friends at NGI’s Shale Daily, who did some proper, old-fashioned reporting and got the real goods…

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