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Devon Energy to buy PE-backed Grayson Mill's Williston assets for $5 billion

A pump jack operates at a well site leased by Devon Energy Production Company near Guthrie, Oklahoma

By Seher Dareen

(Reuters) -Devon Energy said on Monday it had entered into a deal to acquire certain assets of Bakken-focused energy producer Grayson Mill Energy, which is owned by private equity firm EnCap, in a cash-and-stock deal worth $5 billion.

The deal value includes $3.25 billion in cash and $1.75 billion in stock, and will enhance Devon's "multi-basin business", the company's executives said on a conference call.

Shares of the company were down 2.5% in a lower crude price environment. [O/R]

A consolidation in the U.S. energy sector that triggered $250 billion worth of deals in 2023 has bled into this year, with companies seeking opportunities to deploy their capital and expand reserves.

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This has created a favorable environment for firms like EnCap to cash out on assets. In June, the private equity firm sold some shale assets of XCL Resources for about $2 billion.

Reuters reported in January that the firm planned to sell Grayson Mill, a major Bakken-focused energy producer in North Dakota, Montana, and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.

Monday's deal, expected to close by the end of the third quarter, will add up to 10 years of inventory life with 500 additional wells, primarily in the Bakken, contributing 307,000 net acres to Devon's Williston Basin position.

Devon expects its output to grow to 765,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from 664,000 boepd.

"A more conservative outlook on deals may have prevented Devon from coming out on top in the various scrambles for core Permian opportunities," said Andrew Dittmar, principal analyst at Enverus.

"The Eagle Ford and MidContinent now stand out as some of the least consolidated plays with the most remaining private opportunities."

Devon's board of directors also expects to expand its share repurchase by 67% to $5 billion through mid-year 2026, while the acquisition is expected to add to the company’s dividend payout starting 2025.

(Reporting by Seher Dareen in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva, Tasim Zahid and Maju Samuel)