How Much Could Energen Fetch in a Buyout?

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Shares of Energen Corp. (NYSE: EGN) saw a handy gain on Wednesday after the hedge fund Corvex Management announced a 5.5% stake in the company and called for a potential sale. The question is, if this oil and gas firm decides to sell, how much could it fetch in a buyout?

The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $70.15, which implies upside of nearly 24% from the current price level. The company also has a market cap of $5.5 billion, but at the consensus price target level Energen would be valued closer to $6.8 billion.

Corvex suggests Energen’s shares are “undervalued” and a sale could unlock more value. However, this mantra seems typical of management, considering Corvex is run by Keith Meister, who has also served as the chief executive officer for Icahn Enterprises.

Although, it is not just Corvex that is weighing in on Energen. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey recently reiterated a Buy rating for the company, raising its price target to $72 from $70. The firm commented that Energen’s upcoming production/earnings could be higher than guidance and Street consensus, based on upcoming activity and well performance. The company recently increased estimated 2017 spending, with little change to 2017 forecast production, though the brokerage firm believes production late this year or in 2018 should be higher due to the timing and continued improved well performance. Additionally, based on previously released data and conversations with management over well cadence, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey continues to estimate sequential production growth to be the highest this quarter and next, setting the stage for strong growth going forward.

S&P’s CFRA group noted on May 16:

In May 2017, Energen noted that it has acquired more acreage in the Delaware Basin, which is in the heart of the Permian Basin and among the more prolific shale plays in the U.S. Lower 48, in our view. The implied average purchase price of about $21,000 per acre is well below recent M&A transaction values and suggest an attractive acquisition cost. Also in May, Energen noted that its first quarter production of 52,800 b/d was 2,600 b/d higher than its guidance level.

Additionally, Credit Suisse maintained Energen with an Outperform rating and a $77 price target. The firm has a big “Blue Sky Scenario” for more upside of up to $99. This assumes a flat $70 WTI and $3.50 gas price deck, for a basis in which Energen would be worth $99 per share. While those are much better assumptions than the current climate, that was their upside case. The “Grey Sky Scenario” assumed a flat $50 WTI and $2.50 gas price deck, and at that level the firm sees only a $41 valuation if it remained static.

Excluding Wednesday’s move, Energen has underperformed the markets so far in 2017, with the stock down over 3%. However, over the past year the stock is actually up 17%.

Shares of Energen were trading up 1.4% at $56.40 on Wednesday, with a 52-week range of $43.29 to $64.44.