If one of the majors was capable of making a intelligent acquisition maybe they'd buy DVN. Or maybe even a smaller company or private equity.
With DVN's pristine balance sheet and interest rates this low, a buyer could lever up DVN to boost returns. Natty gas should be on a steady if slow upward trajectory.
DVN is too cheap and has underperformed.
How about an activist investor if not a buyout?
"Nobody wants natural gas since it's too easy to find it on your own."
XTO purchase was at the top of the market. We are arguably close to the bottom of the market.
You're right that an acquirer would need to be forward looking which they rarely seem to be.