BHP Billiton Bids High to Extend US Shale Footprint

BHP Billiton and Petrohawk have entered into a definitive agreement for BHP Billiton to acquire Petrohawk for US $38.75 per share by means of an all-cash tender offer for all of the issued and outstanding shares of Petrohawk, representing a total equity value of approximately US $12.1 billion and a total enterprise value of approximately US $15.1 billion, including the assumption of net debt. The Petrohawk board of directors has unanimously recommended to Petrohawk shareholders that they accept the offer.

The transaction would provide BHP Billiton with operated positions in the three world class resource plays of the Eagle Ford and Haynesville shales, and the Permian Basin. Petrohawk's assets cover approximately 1,000,000 net acres in Texas and Louisiana, with estimated 2011 net production of approximately 950 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d), or 158 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (Mboe/d). At year-end 2010, Petrohawk reported proved reserves of 3.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent (Tcfe). The company has a current non-proved resources base of 32 Tcfe for a total risked resource base of 35 Tcfe. Petrohawk reported gross assets of US $8.2 billion as at 31 March 2011 and US $390 million of profit before tax for the year ended 31 December 2010.

BHP Billiton CEO, Marius Kloppers, said the acquisition was a natural fit with BHP Billiton's strategy.

"The proposed acquisition of Petrohawk is consistent with our well defined, upstream, Tier 1 strategy and provides us with even greater exposure to the world's largest energy market, while also broadening our geographic and customer spread. Importantly, our offer and the associated substantial premium represent a unique opportunity for Petrohawk shareholders and recognize the growth opportunities embedded in its portfolio immediately.”

BHP Billiton Petroleum Chief Executive, J. Michael Yeager, said the Petrohawk acquisition would add high quality growth to the company.

"Petrohawk has a focused portfolio of three world class onshore natural gas and liquids rich shale assets. With over a decade of significant investment and volume growth ahead, this transaction would build on our recent acquisition of the Fayetteville shale in Arkansas and provides the potential to more than double our existing resource base. Following completion of the Petrohawk transaction, BHP Billiton Petroleum will be on track to deliver a compound annual production growth rate of more than 10 per cent for the remainder of the decade as we accelerate our shale development program and leverage our strategic capability in the deep water.

"Importantly, BHP Billiton would retain Petrohawk's sizable U.S. based workforce, which has been at the forefront of the technological innovation that brought about the economic viability of U.S. shales. We look forward to extending our dedication to safeguarding the environment and the communities where we operate and continuing our commitment to safe and responsible operating practices across all of our shale gas plays, including the world-class assets that Petrohawk would bring to our portfolio."

Petrohawk CEO, Floyd Wilson, stated, "We believe these premium oil and natural gas assets would benefit significantly by residing within a larger entity that can employ more capital intensity to accelerate their realized value. We are excited to see this transaction completed and to be part of the BHP Billiton organization."

The tender offer is expected to commence by July 25, 2011. The acquisition is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the merger agreement, including a condition that at least a majority of the outstanding Petrohawk shares are tendered, that the waiting period under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, has expired or been terminated and that clearance is obtained from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, and other customary conditions. If the tender offer is completed, un-tendered shares of Petrohawk will be converted into the right to receive the same US $38.75 per share price paid in the tender offer. The transaction is to be financed from existing cash resources and a new credit facility and is not subject to any financing contingency. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011.

BHP Billiton has engaged Barclays Capital and Scotia Waterous as financial advisors in connection with this Offer. Its legal advisors are Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in the United States. Barclays Capital will act as Dealer Manager for the offer. Petrohawk has engaged Goldman Sachs as its financial advisor in connection to this Offer. Its legal advisor is Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.


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