Murray said in an April 7 statement it will acquire a 34% stake in Foresight Energy GP LLC, Foresight’s general partner, for approximately $1.37 billion in cash instead of the 80% voting share it would have gained for $1.395 billion under the original deal announced on March 15. Murray said it still will have the same 77.5% incentive distribution rights as provided in the previous arrangement.
The two companies, who have been fierce rivals in the high-sulfur Illinois Basin, also agreed to several additional changes.
Among them: Foresight founder and billionaire Christopher Cline will join Murray’s board of directors after the transaction is final, presumably later this year, subject to closing conditions including securing necessary financing. Cline apparently would not have become a Murray board member under the original accord.
Also, Robert D. Moore, currently Murray’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer, will become Foresight’s CEO and join the St. Louis-based company’s board. The April statement did not provide an updated status for Michael Beyer, Foresight’s current CEO. Attempts to reach Murray officials for comment were unsuccessful and a Foresight spokeswoman declined to discuss the revised terms.
Murray said it will pay $75 million of the $1.37 billion purchase price to Foresight Reserves LP from the proceeds of the sale of yield-producing assets by Murray to Foresight Energy LP, which are expected to be accretive to FELP. In addition, Murray will have the ability, subject to a number of undisclosed material conditions, to buy an additional 46% of the voting interests in Foresight Energy GP for $25 million during a five-year period.
Murray will own a 50% stake in the limited partner units of Foresight Energy LP, which consists of the subordinated units currently owned by Foresight Reserves LP, Stifel analyst Paul Forward wrote in a research note.
Forward noted that Foresight also will gain access to coal handling and transportation assets owned by Chris Cline, including the Sitran and Hillsboro assets in Indiana and Illinois, respectively. Chris Cline continues to own the Convent Marine Terminal, a coal export facility in Louisiana with which Foresight has minimum volume obligations through 2021.
Neither Murray nor Foresight publicly offered any reasons for the revised agreement.