EQT Urged by Major Investor to Merge with Either Range or Antero

A kerfuffle erupted yesterday when Chapter IV Investors, a Charlotte, NC-based investment firm with investments in EQT, Range Resources and Antero Resources, announced it had sent a letter to EQT urging the company to consider merging with either Range Resources or Antero Resources. Chapter IV, which is essentially two big-money investors (W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer, Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager, and Ryan J. Jack, Partner), does not own enough stock in any of the companies (less than 1% in each) to throw its weight around like a corporate raider. Rather, it appears to be two investors attempting to grab the attention of these companies and their shareholders by issuing a press release (full copy below) with a plan they say would create a new Marcellus/Utica driller worth more than $25 billion. Obviously the value of investments for Chapter IV would go up under such a scenario–so there is self-interest at work here. However, we don’t detect any kind of bullying on the part of Chapter IV, like that of a raider Carl Icahn (successful takeover of Chesapeake Energy & Cheniere Energy) or Keith “Mini-Me” Meister (unsuccessful attempt to takeover Williams). Rather, it appears to be a couple of investors who believe there is an honest and good case for a combination of EQT with another company, and were willing to spend $500 on a press release to make their case. Are they right?…

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