EQT Pulls Trigger to Split Company in Two: Drilling & Pipelines

After EQT announced its plan to buy/merge in Rice Energy last year, the company got pushback from a couple of so-called activist investors (i.e. corporate raiders). One raider, Jana Partners, tried its best to stop the EQT/Rice deal outright (see Proxy Fight: Jana Partners, Atlas Tries to Stop EQT/Rice Deal). Jana slithered away after the merger happened (see Corp Raider Slinks Away After Losing EQT Fight; Selling Stock). However, a second raider, D.E. Shaw, supported the merger but lobbied hard that once the merger is complete, the company should split itself into two companies: upstream (drilling) and midstream (pipelines). Shaw’s pressure made EQT tap dance to their tune (see Under Pressure, EQT Moves Up Timeline to Explore Splitting Co.). True to their word, once Rice was merged in, EQT then added a couple of new board members and set about exploring how to separate the company into two companies. The theory is that by separating, each company can focus on what it does best (drilling or pipelines), meaning each separately will have a higher valuation/stock price than the two combined. That is, “the sum of the parts” is worth more than the whole. The review process is now done, and EQT’s Board of Directors voted to proceed with a plan to divide the company in two…

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