Harbinger, EXCO partner to acquire $132M in oil and natural gas assets from BG Group affiliate

HGI Energy Holdings LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harbinger Group Inc. (NYSE: HRG) has closed on its previously announced joint venture with EXCO Resources Inc. (EXCO; NYSE: XCO) to create a private oil and gas partnership.

The partnership purchased and will operate EXCO’s conventional oil and natural gas assets in West Texas, including and above the Canyon Sand formation, as well as in the Danville, Waskom, Holly and Vernon fields in East Texas and North Louisiana.

“This joint venture with EXCO fits well within our strategy of identifying and acquiring businesses with untapped value that we can support and grow by providing access to long-term capital and partnering with high-quality, proven management teams,” said Philip A. Falcone, HGI chairman and CEO. “With this transaction, we are further diversifying HGI by establishing a new Energy operating business that will complement our existing, highly-successful Consumer Products and Insurance & Financial Services businesses. We will continue to look for strategic opportunities to increase our footprint in the important Energy sector by acquiring companies with long-term growth potential.”

“The partnership is expected to provide stable dividends to HGI from long-life, low geological-risk conventional oil and gas assets that generate steady production and reliable cash flows, while at the same time retaining ample cash flow to invest in its reserve base, maintain production and position itself for further growth,” said HGI president Omar Asali.

Under the terms of the agreement announced on November 5, the partnership acquired the oil and gas assets from EXCO for approximately $725 million of total consideration, which represents HGI’s effective equity interest of $372.5 million, $127.5 million in oil and gas properties and related assets contributed by EXCO, in each case before giving effect to preliminary closing adjustments described below, and approximately $225 million of bank debt. The net cash contributed from HGI was $348.3 million reflecting the effect of preliminary closing adjustments and the economic benefits related to the July 1, 2012 effective date.

HGI has approximately a 75% equity interest in the partnership. The partnership will be governed by a board of directors of the general partner consisting of two EXCO directors and two HGI directors. EXCO will continue to operate the assets as contract operator of the properties and provide services pursuant to contract operating and administrative service agreements with the partnership.

Conventional asset acquisition
HGI and EXCO intend to opportunistically add incremental cash flow to the Partnership through the acquisition of other mature, conventional assets over time. As the first step in executing this business strategy, effective as of February 14, 2013, the partnership entered into an agreement to acquire certain conventional oil and natural gas assets in the Danville, Waskom and Holly fields in East Texas and North Louisiana, including and above the Cotton Valley formation, from an affiliate of BG Group plc for $132.5 million, subject to customary closing adjustments. These properties represent an incremental working interest in properties that EXCO contributed to the partnership. This transaction is expected to close in March 2013. The partnership intends to fund the acquisition using its revolving credit agreement.

HGI’s financial advisor for this transaction is Citigroup and its legal advisors were Andrews Kurth LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

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