EPL stockholders should question why the EPL Board continues to recommend diluting the ownership of existing stockholders and significantly increasing the Company's debt in order to pay a premium to Stone Energy stockholders under the proposed EPL and Stone Energy merger agreement, instead of recommending the ATS all cash offer.
Under the ATS cash offer EPL stockholders would receive a premium of 25% (30% in certain circumstances) to EPL's closing price of $18.40 on August 25, 2006, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the ATS offer.
ATS believes that its offer is even more valuable to EPL stockholders today than when first announced given the subsequent and substantial decrease in crude oil and natural gas prices.
Since August 25, 2006, the last day of trading prior to the ATS announcement of its offer, the share prices of EPL's peers, identified by EPL in their proxy statement, have fallen substantially (approximately 10% on average and 13% on an equity market capitalization weighted average).
In light of this decline, ATS believes its offer now represents even better value for EPL stockholders than when originally announced. In addition, it remains more attractive than either the merger with Stone Energy or EPL remaining a stand-alone entity.
ATS President Mark Chatterji said EPL stockholders should be disappointed by their Board's actions to frustrate the freedom of choice for stockholders, some of which would siphon value from the Company's stockholders to the Company's management.
"By adopting a poison pill and implementing excessive change of control severance benefits for executives and other employees, EPL management becomes further entrenched. One has to question if the EPL Board of Directors is committed to realizing value for its stockholders and acting in the stockholders' best interests," Mr. Chatterji said.
ATS is pleased that on September 13, 2006 EPL announced revisions to its bylaws, which removed the 85% supermajority requirement for any action to be taken by the written consent of the EPL stockholders. EPL's Board effectively recognized ATS's claim that the 85% supermajority requirement was an invalid method of restricting the stockholders' statutory right to act by written majority consent.
ATS remains confident that EPL stockholders will send a clear message to the EPL Board and management by voting against the Stone Energy transaction.
ATS commenced its cash tender offer on August 31, 2006 and the offer expires at 12:00 midnight, New York City time on Thursday September 28, 2006, unless extended.
The complete terms and conditions of the offer are set forth in the Offer to Purchase and related Letter of Transmittal, copies of which are available by contacting the Information Agent for the offer, Innisfree M&A Incorporated. Stockholders may call toll- free: (877) 456-3427; banks and brokers may call collect: (212) 750-5833.
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