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Energy-Sector M&A Activity Off to a Slow Start for Third Consecutive Year

Energy SaaS company Enverus recently released its summary of first quarter 2021 U.S. upstream mergers and acquisition activity. The report shows $3.4 billion in deal value was transacted, an 88 percent decline from fourth quarter 2020. This is the third year in a row that U.S. activity has started out slowly.

First quarter deal activity largely focused on production-heavy assets in legacy oil plays. Combined, the Bakken and Eagle Ford accounted for two-thirds of deal value. A strong rally in crude oil prices improving cash flow from these more developed areas likely helped spur the additional buyer interest.

Another distinguishing factor of first quarter activity was involvement by private equity. The top two deals of the quarter were acquisitions by private equity-sponsored E&Ps: Grayson Mill Energy’s $900 million buy in the Bakken and Validus Energy’s $880 million Eagle Ford purchase. The next two largest deals were sales by Bruin E&P (formerly private equity-backed and then owned by creditors following a bankruptcy reorganization) and Grenadier Energy Partners II, which was sponsored by EnCap and Kayne Anderson. The first day of the second quarter opened with a sale by Permian-focused DoublePoint Energy, which has at least four private sponsors, to Pioneer in the largest acquisition of a private E&P in a decade.

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About Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown has decades of experience in corporate communications and marketing management with organizations including Coldwell Banker Residential, Grubb & Ellis, Marcus & Millichap, NAIOP, SIOR and ALM. In those positions, she worked in conjunction with chief executive officers and chief marketing officers to create corporate messaging, cohesive branding standards, strategic marketing plans and thought pieces. Brown is a frequent speaker at industry events and an editing adjunct professor for an online course. She has a master’s degree in mass communications from San Jose State University.

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