Warburg's Antero valued at $11 billion after pricing IPO above range

Reuters

(Reuters) - Warburg Pincus-controlled oil and natural gas company Antero Resources Corp (AR.N) will go public on Thursday with a valuation of over $11 billion (6.9 billion pounds), after the company priced its upsized initial public offering above its indicated range.

Strong demand for the company's shares, initially scheduled to list on Friday, highlights investor appetite for companies in a sector with vast reserves of natural gas and oil unlocked from underground shale deposits that are driving an energy renaissance in the United States.

Antero sold 35.73 million shares in the offering at $44 each, raising $1.57 billion, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. It had planned to sell 30 million shares at between $38 and $42 each.

A surge in equity markets this year has encouraged large private equity-backed companies to pursue IPOs and exit their holdings.

EP Energy LLC, which was bought by a private equity consortium led by Apollo Global Management LLC (NYS:APO) for $7.15 billion in the largest private equity deal of 2012, filed for an IPO last month.

Antero, which in June filed its intention to raise up to $1 billion through a public offering, has holdings in the Marcellus and Utica shales, two of the premier North American shale plays.

The company last month raised its 2013 capital budget to $2.45 billion. It expects to drill 135 gross Marcellus and 26 gross Utica horizontal wells in 2013.

Its second quarter net daily production averaged 458 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d), including 4,160 barrels per day of natural gas liquids and oil. As of June 30, Antero's estimated proved reserves were 6.3 Tcfe.

The company's majority owner, Antero Investment, has granted underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 3.4 million shares to cover over-allotments.

Following the offering, Antero Investment will directly own 86.5 percent of the company, if the underwriters exercise their full option to purchase additional shares.

Antero Investment is owned by investment funds affiliated with private equity firms including Warburg Pincus and Yorktown Partners LLC, according to Antero's IPO filing.

The company's shares are scheduled to begin trading on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "AR".

Barclays, Citigroup and JPMorgan were the lead underwriters to the offering.

(Reporting by Aman Shah in Bangalore; Editing by Bernard Orr and Stephen Coates)

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