Shale Plays Fuel Energy M&A

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By  – Published January 28, 2014 – FOXBusiness

Merger and acquisition activity in the U.S. energy sector was largely fueled last year by continued interest in shale plays, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PwC said deal-making accelerated throughout 2013 and signaled a strong uptick in the final three months of the year. A total of 182 deals valued at a combined $115.9 billion were announced during the full year.

More M&A moves are likely on the way in 2014 as companies look for inorganic opportunities to increase shareholder value and sustain growth, PwC noted in its quarterly Oil & Gas M&A analysis released on Tuesday.

“Overall, M&A activity has been robust for a number of years in oil and gas,” said Doug Meier, PwC’s U.S. energy sector deals leader.  “We see that (trend) continuing as companies in the space focus on portfolio optimization – further investing in those assets that are generating strong returns and divesting those assets that are generating lower returns.”

Meier added that PwC is working with clients to explore transactions and drive synergies.

M&A in the energy industry closed out the year on a high note. There were 51 oil and gas deals with values greater than $50 million in the fourth quarter, while the combined value of those deals jumped 154% versus the third period to $41.7 billion.

According to PwC, 27 deals in the final quarter of 2013 were related to shale plays. Shale deals had a combined value of $23.8 billion, up 338% sequentially. There were 79 shale deals that contributed $53.2 billion in value for all of last year, marking an additional two deals and $1.5 billion in value versus 2012

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