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KKR Hires RPM’s Farley, Rockecharlie to Grow Energy Business

KKR & Co. hired energy-industry bankers Claire Scobee Farley and David Rockecharlie as the New York-based private-equity firm expands its oil and gas investments.

Farley, former co-president of Jefferies & Co.’s energy investment-banking group, and Rockecharlie, who was co-head of that unit, founded RPM Energy LLC, a Houston-based oil and gas production company. KKR partnered with RPM last year to bet on oil and gas prices.

RPM will become an exclusive energy partner of KKR’s, helping manage the firm’s investments in oil and gas, KKR said today in a statement. The firm, led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, entered the energy industry with a 1985 investment in Houston-based Union Texas Petroleum Holdings Inc.

“In addition to helping grow our existing businesses, Claire and David will help us build additional lines of business in the energy and infrastructure arena over time,” Marc Lipschultz, global head of KKR’s energy and infrastructure business, said in the statement.

Samson, Marathon Oil

KKR is in exclusive talks to buy Samson Investment Co., a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based oil and gas producer, people with knowledge of the matter said today. The family owned company may be valued at $8 billion to $10 billion in a sale, the people said. A deal at that value would be the biggest leveraged buyout of an oil and gas producer and this year’s largest corporate buyout by a private-equity firm.

The value of deals in the energy industry this year has climbed almost 75 percent to $22 billion over a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The surge was led by the $3.5 billion agreement in June by KKR and Hilcorp Energy Co. to sell oil and gas leases in southern Texas to Marathon Oil Corp. The deal almost tripled the value of KKR’s $400 million investment in a year.

KKR made a fourfold return on its first shale-gas investment, in Warrendale, Pennsylvania-based East Resources Inc., when the company was sold to Royal Dutch Shell Plc in May 2010. KKR has also attracted more than $1 billion for its natural-resources fund, exceeding the target, a person familiar with the matter said last month.

KKR managed $61.9 billion in assets as of June 30, the company said.

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