Pioneer, Parsley announce merger to increase Permian strength

Dallas-based Pioneer Natural Resources Company (NYSE:PXD) and Parsley Energy Inc. (NYSE:PE) on Tuesday, Oct. 20 announced a definitive agreement under which Pioneer will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Austin-based Parsley in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $4.5 billion as of Oct. 19, 2020.

Under the terms of the agreement, Parsley shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.1252 shares of Pioneer common stock for each share of Parsley common stock owned. The total value for the transaction, inclusive of Parsley debt assumed by Pioneer, is approximately $7.6 billion. The deal is unusual in that Pioneer’s president and CEO is Scott Sheffield and his son, Bryan Sheffield is the founder and chairman of Parsley.

According to a news release from the two companies, the combined company will be the leading Permian independent exploration and production company with a premium asset base of approximately 930,000 net acres with no federal acreage and a production base of 328 thousand barrels of oil per day and 558 thousand barrels oil equivalent per day as of the second quarter of 2020. Additionally, based on year-end 2019 proved reserves, this transaction will increase Pioneer’s proved reserves by approximately 65%.

Scott D. Sheffield, Pioneer’s President and CEO stated, “This transaction creates an unmatched independent energy company by combining two complementary and premier Permian assets, further strengthening Pioneer’s leadership position within the upstream energy sector. Parsley’s high-quality portfolio in both the Midland and Delaware Basins, when added to Pioneer’s peer-leading asset base, will transform the investing landscape by creating a company of unique scale and quality that results in tangible and durable value for investors.

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The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both Pioneer and Parsley and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, regulatory approvals and shareholder approvals. Parsley’s largest investor, Quantum Energy Partners, which owns approximately 17% of Parsley’s outstanding shares, has executed a Voting and Support Agreement in connection with the transaction.

Upon closing of the transaction, Pioneer’s Board of Directors will be expanded to thirteen to include Matt Gallagher, Parsley’s President and CEO, and A.R. Alameddine, Parsley’s lead director. Pioneer’s executive management team will lead the combined company with the headquarters remaining in Dallas.

In connection with this transaction, Pioneer has retained Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC as financial advisors and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as a legal advisor. Parsley has retained Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC as financial advisors and Vinson & Elkins LLP as a legal advisor.

Matt Gallagher, Parsley’s President and CEO stated, “The combination of Parsley and Pioneer creates an organization set to thrive as we forge a strong new link at the low end of the global cost curve. With neighboring acreage positions located entirely in the low-cost, high-margin Permian Basin, the industrial logic of this transaction is sound. Furthermore, the Pioneer team shares our belief that a clear returns-focused mindset is the best tool to compete for capital within the broader market. Sustainable free cash flow and growing return of capital are now investment prerequisites for the energy sector and this combination strengthens those paths for our shareholders. Finally, I would like to personally thank every employee of Parsley Energy for their role in the evolution of this company – from operating a few dozen vertical wells in 2008 to a global leadership position in E&P operations today.”

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S. Wil VanLoh, Jr., a Parsley director and the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Quantum Energy Partners, Parsley’s largest shareholder, commented, “The inevitable consolidation in the Permian marches on and I couldn’t think of a better combination of assets than Pioneer and Parsley. This combination will provide Parsley shareholders new structural advantages including a lower cost of capital, a fortified balance sheet, economies of scale, and enhanced ESG capabilities, while amplifying all of the relative strengths of our standalone model. We look forward to partnering with the Pioneer team as they cement their position as the premier independent E&P.”