McClendon’s American Energy Raises $500 Million in Equity

Jan 29, 2014 6:49 pm ET

(Adds report on Hess Utica sale in third paragraph.)

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- American Energy Partners LP, the energy company founded by former Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon, raised as much as $500 million through an affiliate to acquire stakes in U.S. onshore oil and natural gas deposits.

The funds will be used to purchase non-operated working interests, the Oklahoma City-based company said today in a statement. Houston-based private-equity firm Energy & Minerals Group, led by John T. Raymond, is the exclusive private equity investor, with additional equity provided by management of the affiliate, known as American Energy - NonOp LLC.

McClendon’s company was named in a Wall Street Journal report today as the buyer of 74,000 acres of drilling rights in Ohio’s Utica Shale from Hess Corp. The newspaper cited people familiar with the matter that it didn’t name. Hess announced the sale in a statement today, but didn’t identify the buyer.

A spokesman for American Energy at Brunswick Group LLC declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News today.

McClendon, who founded Chesapeake and built it into the second-largest U.S. gas producer, said in October American Energy had raised about $1.7 billion from several private-equity firms, including Energy & Minerals, to explore Ohio’s Utica shale formation. McClendon stepped down as chief executive officer of Chesapeake last year after questions were raised about his personal borrowing from some of its biggest financiers.

Blind Pool

McClendon also announced plans in December to seek as much as $2 billion by selling units in a blind pool investment, a speculative vehicle with no assets or profits that gives backers a chance to help fund potential oil and gas developments.

Commercial Law Group LLC represented American Energy, while Energy & Minerals received legal counsel from Baker Botts LLP.

--With assistance from Jim Polson in New York and Joe Carroll in Chicago. Editors: Susan Warren, Steven Frank