Natural gas company Rice Energy files for IPO


Dec 9 (Reuters) - Natural gas exploration and productioncompany Rice Energy Inc said it had filed with U.S. regulatorsto go public.

Reuters reported in October that the privately held company,founded by former BlackRock Inc portfolio manager DanielRice and his children, planned a stock offering that could valuethe company at up to $2.5 billion.

The company said on Monday it had confidentially submitted adraft registration statement to the U.S. Securities and ExchangeCommission and expected to launch the IPO in the first quarterof 2014.

Separately, Alpha Natural Resources Inc said itwould sell its 50 percent interest in its shale joint venturewith Rice Energy for $200 million in shares in the IPO and $100million in cash.

Alpha and Rice Energy entered into the joint venture in 2010to develop a portion of Alpha's Marcellus natural gas holdingsin Greene County, Pennsylvania.

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