ConocoPhillips and Concho Resources announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine companies in an all-stock transaction. Under the terms of the transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company, each share of Concho Resources (Concho) common stock will be exchanged for a fixed ratio of 1.46 shares of ConocoPhillips common stock, representing a 15 percent premium to closing share prices on October 13. The transaction combines two high-quality industry leaders to create a company with an approximately $60 billion enterprise value that will offer stakeholders a superior investment choice for sustainable performance and returns through cycles. Highlights of the transaction include:
- Two best-in-class asset portfolios that create a combined resource base of approximately 23 billion barrels of oil equivalent with a less than $40 per barrel WTI cost of supply and an average cost of supply below $30 per barrel WTI.
- High-quality balance sheet that offers superior sustainability, resilience and flexibility across price cycles.
- ConocoPhillips and Concho expect to capture $500 million of annual cost and capital savings by 2022.
- A financial framework that delivers greater than 30 percent of cash from operations via compelling dividends and additional distributions.
- Elevated commitment to environmental, social and governance excellence with a newly adopted Paris-Aligned Climate Risk strategy.
“The leadership and boards of both companies believe today’s transaction is an affirmation of our commitment to lead a structural change for our vital industry,” said Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer. “Concho is a tremendous fit with ConocoPhillips. Together, ConocoPhillips and Concho will have unmatched scale and quality across the important value drivers in our business: an enviable low cost of supply asset base, a strong balance sheet, a disciplined capital allocation approach, ESG excellence and great people. Importantly, the transaction meets our long-stated and clear criteria for mergers and acquisitions because it is completely consistent with our financial and operational framework.”
“Through this combination, we are joining a diversified energy company with even more scale and resources to create shareholder value in today’s markets and beyond,” said Tim Leach, chairman and chief executive officer of Concho Resources. “Thanks to our team, Concho is one of the largest unconventional shale producers in the United States, with a high-quality asset base, a culture of operational excellence, safety and efficiency, and a strong balance sheet. Through consolidation, we will apply our assets, capabilities and superior performance to the business model of the future, creating a better-capitalized company with enhanced capital discipline, more flexibility and an unwavering commitment to sustainability. From our position of strength and in light of market trends, our board of directors and management team evaluated a wide range of options and unanimously determined that combining with ConocoPhillips is the best path forward for Concho and our shareholders. We look forward to bringing together our complementary operations, teams and cultures to realize the upside potential of this exciting combination.”
Transaction Rationale and Benefits
Today’s transaction brings together two companies with the leadership, assets and a capital allocation approach to generate growing free cash flow, supported by a top-tier investment-grade balance sheet that provides investors with sustainability, resilience and flexibility. The combined company will have competitive advantages across sector fundamentals:
- Combination creates leading company with scale and relevance: The transaction offers a compelling combination of size, best-in-class assets, financial strength and operating capability. The new ConocoPhillips will be the largest independent oil and gas company, with pro forma production of over 1.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (MMBOED).
- Massive, diversified and low cost of supply resource base provides years of high-value investments: The combined company will hold approximately 23 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE) resources with an average cost of supply of below $30 per barrel WTI. The transaction brings together contiguous and complementary “core-of-the-core” acreage positions across the Delaware and Midland basins to create an unconventional powerhouse that also includes leading positions in the Eagle Ford and Bakken in the Lower 48 and the Montney in Canada. The expanded Permian position provides a strong complement to ConocoPhillips’ other globally diverse, low-capital-intensity legacy positions.
Disciplined capital allocation criterion will drive investment decisions: The company’s portfolio will be developed for value and free cash flow. The company will target an average reinvestment level of less than 70 percent of cash from operations to ensure sufficient free cash flow generation to fund compelling returns of capital to shareholders.
- Significant cost and capital savings will drive uplift in value and sustained cost structure improvement: The companies announced that together they expect to capture $500 million of annual cost and capital savings by 2022. The identified savings will come from lower general and administrative costs and a reduction in ConocoPhillips’ future global new ventures exploration program. This de-emphasis of ConocoPhillips’ organic resource addition program is driven by the addition of Concho’s large, low-cost resource base. Additional supply chain, commercial and drilling and completion capital efficiency savings are not yet included in these cost-reduction estimates.
- Proven technical and operational expertise will be applied across the combined portfolio to unlock value: Both ConocoPhillips and Concho are already recognized leaders in oil and gas technology and operations. As part of the planned integration, the company will adopt a “best practices” approach that will share learnings and select best practices focused on the North American unconventional portfolio.
- High-quality balance sheet provides resilience through cycles and supports commitment to sustainable shareholder return of capital: ConocoPhillips will offer a compelling ordinary dividend supplemented by additional distributions as needed to meet its target distribution of greater than 30 percent of cash from operations. The company seeks to maintain a strong investment-grade credit rating across price cycles. On a pro forma basis, the combined company net debt is approximately $12 billion as of June 30, 2020, representing an attractive leverage ratio of 1.3 at 2021 consensus commodity prices.
- The companies share a track record of and commitment to ESG excellence: The combination creates a platform for leading the sector into the energy transition and a low-carbon future. The combined entity will be the first U.S.-based oil and gas company to adopt a Paris-aligned climate risk strategy to meet an operational (Scope 1 and Scope 2) net-zero emissions ambition by 2050.
Leadership and Governance
Upon closing, Concho’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tim Leach will join ConocoPhillips’ board of directors and executive leadership team as executive vice president and president, Lower 48. This transaction will enhance the company’s competitive position in Midland.
The transaction is subject to the approval of both ConocoPhillips and Concho stockholders, regulatory clearance and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. In the meantime, an integration planning team consisting of representatives from both companies will be formed to ensure required business processes and programs are implemented seamlessly post-closing. In light of the pending merger, ConocoPhillips has suspended share repurchases until after the transaction closes.
Lance continued, “Opportunities to consolidate quality on the scale of these two companies do not come along often, so we are seizing this moment to create a company to lead the necessary transformation of our vital sector for the benefit for all stakeholders in the future.”
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor to ConocoPhillips, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as ConocoPhillips’ legal advisor. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC are acting as financial advisors to Concho. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is acting as legal advisor to Concho.