SandRidge Gets Subpoena Regarding Antitrust Violations

SandRidge Energy Inc., the U.S. crude producer that ousted its founder Tom Ward in June, received a subpoena in December as part of a probe into potential antitrust violations during the purchase or lease of land, oil or natural gas rights.

SandRidge has no information about the U.S. Justice Department investigation beyond that disclosed in the filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Chief Executive Officer James Bennett said today on a conference all. The Oklahoma City-based company is cooperating with the probe, he said.

The Justice Department has an open investigation into the possibility of anticompetitive practices in the purchase and lease of oil and gas properties, said Gina Talamona, a department spokeswoman. She declined to comment on the filing by SandRidge.

The company fired Ward as chairman and CEO days before an activist shareholder was poised to gain control of its board. The dismissal followed a four-month independent review by Mayer Brown LLP of related-party transactions between SandRidge and Ward family entities.

The subpoena is probably related to the company’s prior management rather than current operations, Curtis Trimble, a Houston-based analyst for Global Hunter Securities, wrote today in an e-mail response to questions. Trimble rates the shares a hold and doesn’t own any.

Chesapeake Probe

Chesapeake Energy Corp., co-founded by Ward and Aubrey McClendon, previously reported receiving Justice Department subpoenas in connection with an antitrust investigation of lands, leases and petroleum rights.

SandRidge doesn’t think the probe should be a source of concern to analysts, Bennett said in response to questions during the conference call.

SandRidge announced fourth-quarter results after the close of regular trading yesterday. It reported lower well costs and raised its average per-well production forecast.

The shares rose 1.9 percent to $6.45 at the close in New York. The company plans a March 4 analyst meeting in New York.

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