Energy Business

Linn Moves Beyond SEC Probe on Berry Petroleum

Source: Thinkstock
In July of 2013, Linn Energy LLC (NASDAQ: LINE) and Linn Co. LLC (NASDAQ: LNCO) announced that their acquisition of Berry Petroleum was being investigate, along with the way the companies reported non-GAAP earnings and hedging activities. On Wednesday, Linn announced that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had “closed its inquiry and does not intend to recommend any enforcement action against [either Linn or Linn Co.].”

That may be the best news Linn has had in the months since the SEC started poking around in the company’s affairs. Shares fell from around $33 to around $22 and rose back to that $33 level about a year ago, before following virtually every oil company on the planet into free fall as the price of crude dropped last summer.

What makes Linn and Linn Co. attractive to investors, of course, is their dividend yields. In January the companies announced a cut in the annual dividend from $2.90 to $1.25 — and the stock gained 12% because Linn announced at the same time that it was cutting capital spending from $1.55 in 2014 to $730 million this year.

Both Linn and Linn Co. still pay a dividend yield of more than 10% at Thursday’s closing price. Each pays an annual dividend of $1.25 in monthly increments of $0.1042 per unit or share. The companies declared February’s distributions last week.

Linn’s common units rose more than 7% on Thursday and were up another 2.6% in premarket trading on Friday at $12.70. The 52-week range is $9.05 to $33.70.

Linn Co.’s shares rose 9% on Thursday and were inactive Friday morning, having closed at $12.93 on Thursday in a 52-week range of $8.58 to $32.18.

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