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QEP Resources begins strategic review, cancels $1.73B asset sale to Vantage

Colorado-based QEP Resources Inc.'s board of directors started a comprehensive review of alternatives to maximize shareholder value, which may result in a merger or divestment of the company.

The company will be in talks with the fund manager Elliott Management Corp. and other unnamed companies interested in a potential deal, according to a Feb. 20 news release. In January, Elliott offered to acquire the entire company at $8.75 per share in cash.

Developments on the review will not be made public until a specific agreement has approved, or the review has been terminated.

In the same statement, QEP said it has agreed with Vantage Energy Acquisition Corp. subsidiary Vantage Acquisition Operating Co. LLC to terminate the sale of its assets in the Williston Basin to Vantage, citing an unfavorable commodity pricing environment and saying the closing conditions of the deal is "unlikely" to be satisfied.

QEP will still operate and develop its existing assets in the basin, which include the South Antelope and Fort Berthold leaseholds.

With QEP's reduction of its operational footprint over the last 12 months, the oil and gas producer also plans to "significantly reduce" its general and administrative expense by about 45%, comparing 2018 and expected 2020 levels. The reductions, which would be implemented in the first half of the year, are expected to make QEP's cost structure competitive with industry peers, the company said.