I worry less about them putting a completion date out there -- that is not uncommon IMO. What I worry about is management repeating that date over and over (albeit with the caveat that they "hoped" or "anticipated" closing by that date) and then not making the date. I think there are two things that could occur: First is a lawsuit from someone if they don't make the 12/31/12 date. (Note: I don't think such a lawsuit would be successful but it would cost money and take up management's time.) Second is an SEC action since there is an argument to be made that EVEP needs to update the information they put out (i.e., closing by the end of the year) when it becomes known that a closing will not occur.
I agree-- The consistency of the message is the message. (and a potential peril) They have banged home the point that a deal will be closed on by year end to the extent that there is some force behind it. I don't think Walker, Houser, and Mercer are so dumb to not understand the box they built. I assume the deal has been all but done for a long time now, awaiting only pen to paper. My guess is a large headline deal will complicate the job for landmen on the ground to sign acreage for $5 grand when the talk of the Utica is about some $15-20 grand sale between companies. As you can see when individual landowners post here, they expect some relationship between the bonus they get and the ultimate sale proceeds between companies. Utica is not all leased up yet and there needs to be a balance between supporting unitholders and EVEP/Enervest/Chesapeake's ability to sign decent deals with landowners.
When the deal is announced, for better or worse, it will be the benchmark against other deals and leases are measured for the next year or so. It will either be the largest or 2nd largest in Ohio and will either be the richest or second richest in Ohio. It isn't just us with an interest here.