Devon Energy near $6 bln deal for GeoSouthern -source

Reuters

By Greg Roumeliotis and Michael Erman

NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Devon Energy Corp isclose to a deal to buy privately held GeoSouthern Energy Corpfor around $6 billion, according to a person familiar with thematter.

The deal could be announced as soon as this week, the sourcesaid. The source could not be identified because the talks areprivate.

GeoSouthern Energy, based in The Woodlands, Texas, drillsfor oil and gas in the Austin Chalk and Eagle Ford geologicformations in South Texas.

A deal to buy GeoSouthern would be Devon's second largetransaction in less than a month as the Oklahoma City,Oklahoma-based company seeks to revive stock market investorinterest in its shares.

Devon has been working for years to transform itself. In2009, the company started selling off international and offshoreassets in order to focus on its North American operations.

In October, the company agreed to combine most of its U.S.pipeline and processing businesses with those owned by CrosstexEnergy Inc and Crosstex Energy LP and form anew infrastructure company.

"If there is one criticism of the company, it's that theydon't have exposure to some of the fastest growingunconventional plays like the Eagle Ford in Texas or the Uticain Ohio," said Mark Hanson, oil company analyst with Morningstarin Chicago.

The GeoSouthern purchase could make up for some of thoseshortcomings. Still, Hanson said that the large purchase couldbe "a tacit admission your organic growth strategy didn't work."

Devon declined to comment. GeoSouthern was not immediatelyavailable for comment.

The deal was originally reported in the Wall Street Journal.Devon shares rose 5.5 percent to $63.04 on Tuesday afternoon onthe news.

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