Chesapeake Adopts Poison Pill After Shares Plummet
(Bloomberg) -- Chesapeake Energy Corp. adopted a poison pill after the oil-price crash and coronavirus pandemic sent the debt-burdened shale pioneer’s shares tumbling.
The shareholder rights can be exercised if a person or group acquires 4.9% or more of Chesapeake’s outstanding common stock, the company said Thursday in a statement. Under those conditions, holders of the rights can buy common shares at a 50% discount or Chesapeake can exchange each right for one share.
Chesapeake was already in a precarious position before the Covid-19 outbreak sent crude demand plummeting. At its height more than a decade ago, the producer was a $37.5 billion company led by Aubrey McClendon, an outspoken advocate for the gas industry. But Chesapeake’s success at extracting the fuel from deeply buried rock contributed to a massive gas glut. While the company has pushed to transition into an oil explorer, that move could prove pointless after crude’s historic crash.
Earlier this month, Chesapeake shareholders approved a reverse stock split of one share for as many as 200 shares. The company is one of the most endangered oil producers, with $192 million of bonds coming due in August, out of a total debt load of more than $9 billion.
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