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IGas Agrees to Buy Dart to Create Leading U.K. Shale Explorer

IGas Energy Plc agreed to buy Dart Energy Ltd., creating an explorer with rights to drill across more than 1 million acres including shale basins.

IGas will offer shares to investors valuing Brisbane-based Dart Energy at A$211.5 million ($198 million), the companies said in a statement today. After the deal, Dart shareholders will own about 31 percent of the enlarged company.

The deal “increases our licensed acreage as we seek to unlock the untapped energy resource that exists in Britain,” IGas Chief Executive Officer Andrew Austin said.

IGas produces about 3,000 barrels a day of oil and gas from onshore U.K. fields, operates the country’s first coal-bed methane production project and holds licenses to explore in shale fields in northwest England.

The stock rose as much as 6.5 pence, or 5 percent, to 136 pence in London. It traded at 130 pence at 10:47 a.m. local time.

Dart holds 24 U.K. licences and has agreements with France’s Total SA and GDF Suez to fund exploration of potential shale gas fields.

For each share they hold, each Dart investor will get 0.08117 IGas share, representing a 41 percent premium to yesterday’s closing price in Australia.

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