By Mike Stone
(Reuters) - Former Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK) CEO Aubrey McClendon is leading an investor group set to buy Enduring Resources LLC in a deal that could value the oil and natural gas producer at more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
McClendon, who was a major figure in the U.S. energy industry before being ousted from Chesapeake last year in the aftermath of a governance scandal and liquidity crisis, remains a prominent shale dealmaker who has amassed wells and leaseholds in the Utica.
Denver, Colorado-headquartered Enduring Resources is partly owned by buyout firm EnCap Investments LP and has oil and gas producing operations in Utah and West Texas. The company has been working alongside Jefferies on its sale, the people said.
The sources cautioned that the deal had not yet been finalized and asked not to be named because the talks are confidential. Spokespeople for Enduring Resources and EnCap declined to comment, while a McClendon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
One of the people said private equity firm Energy & Minerals Group (EMG) is one of the investors alongside McClendon. EMG's majority owner John Raymond is the lead equity investor in another McClendon venture. A spokesperson for EMG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Enduring Resources has drilling operations in West Texas and is amassing acreage in the expanding Delaware section of the Permian Basin, according to the company's website.
McClendon co-founded Chesapeake in 1989 and the company went on to become the No. 2 U.S. natural gas producer. He left his CEO post in April 2013 following clashes over spending with the company's board and a series of Reuters investigations that led to civil and criminal probes at the company. [ID:nL2N0LB21X]
(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by David Gregorio)