Vantage Energy Inc., the oil and gas explorer that postponed an initial public offering last year, is now exploring a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Englewood, Colorado-based company is working with Barclays Plc to find a buyer, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Vantage, which primarily drills for gas in the southwestern Pennsylvania portion of the Marcellus Shale basin, has contacted potential suitors that operate in that region including EQT Corp. and Antero Resources Corp., the people said.
Vantage, which also operates in the Barnett Shale basin outside of Dallas, could consider breaking up to appeal to more potential buyers, one of the people said. The company filed for an IPO almost a year ago that would have valued the company at as much as $1.95 billion. It postponed the offering in September, citing “unfavorable equity market conditions.”
Spokesmen for Barclays and EQT declined to comment. Representatives for Vantage and Antero didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Last year’s slide in oil prices has thrown the U.S. oil and gas industry into turmoil, sending energy shares tumbling and forcing companies to sideline drilling rigs to conserve cash. Noble Energy Inc. agreed last month to acquire Rosetta Resources Inc. for $2.1 billion in stock, a move analysts called the precurser of a potential takeover wave of small and midsize explorers.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection fined Vantage energy almost $1 million in December, citing violations related to a landslide and illegal waste disposal at one of its well sites.