Paulson Says Callon Should Walk Away from Carrizo Purchase
(Bloomberg) -- Paulson & Co. has come out against Callon Petroleum Co.’s $1.2 billion deal to buy Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc., arguing the Permian Basin energy explorer should walk away from the deal and put itself up for sale.
The New York hedge fund, founded by billionaire John Paulson, said in a letter to Callon’s board Monday it owns a 9.5% stake in the company and plans to vote against the deal. Paulson noted that Callon’s shares have fallen about 36% since the transaction was announced in July, destroying about $530 million for shareholders.
Callon surged 11% to $4.52 a share at 8:34 a.m. in pre-market trading in New York while Carrizo increased 8.7%.
“We believe Callon shareholders would be better off if Callon’s board and management pursued a sale,” Marcelo Kim and Jim Hoffman, partners at Paulson, said in the letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg.
Callon could be worth $6.69 per share in a sale, they said. That’s about 64% higher than where it traded at the end of last week. Shares of Callon fell 0.2% on Friday to close at $4.08, giving the Houston-based company a market value of about $931.5 million.
Representatives for Callon and Carrizo weren’t immediately available for comment.
Callon is overpaying for Carrizo, Kim and Hoffman said.
“Callon is offering an unwarranted 25% premium,” they said. “According to the proxy, no other potential buyer of Carrizo was willing to pay such a premium.”
The transaction would give Callon “inferior” assets in the Eagle Ford shale that would discourage potential buyers of the company, they said. Companies that mostly operate in the Eagle Ford of south Texas tend to trade at a discount to companies such as Callon that primarily operate in the Permian, the most productive oilfield in the U.S., they said.
Permian explorers are worth more because they make more money. Deals including Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s takeover of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. underscore the attractiveness of the Permian, they said.
“We believe that there would be many acquirers interested in Callon,” Kim and Hoffman said.
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