Rice Energy Investor Sues in Fed Court to Block Sale to EQT

In June EQT and Rice Energy announced that EQT will buy out and merge in Rice Energy, to create (in EQT) the largest natural gas-producing company in the United States (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). You may see headlines from time to time that say EQT is paying $6.7 billion for Rice. However, EQT is also assuming $1.5 billion worth of Rice Energy debt as part of the deal–so in our book, the total price paid is $8.2 billion, not $6.7 billion. A few weeks after the announced merger, so-called “activist investor” (i.e. corporate raider) Jana Partners, in league with the Cohen family (Atlas Energy) started a proxy fight to block EQT’s takover/merger with Rice Energy (see Proxy Fight: Jana Partners, Atlas Tries to Stop EQT/Rice Deal). Instead of buying Rice, Jana is demanding that EQT split itself into two companies–upstream (drilling) and midstream (pipelines). Experts don’t give Jana much of a chance. However, we now have opposition on the other side of the isle–from a disgruntled investor in Rice Energy. On Wednesday, Rice Energy investor Patrick Gordon filed a lawsuit in Delaware federal court alleging that Rice, as part of the agreed merger, submitted incomplete paperwork (called an S-4) that “failed to include necessary financial information that would allow shareholders to make an informed decision when voting on the proposed sale to EQT.” Gordon says Rice’s sale price isn’t high enough. Gordon wants the court to stop a shareholder vote on the deal until an amended S-4 is filed, giving what Gordon says is the full financial picture…

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