Houston Natural Resources Corp. plans to rebrand after acquiring full ownership of Appalachian Basin E&P Cunningham Energy.
Houston Natural Resources (HNRC) acquired a 100% interest in Charleston, West Virginia-based Cunningham Energy LLC by issuing common and preferred stock, the companies announced July 11.
Financial terms of the transaction were not made available, but the deal increases HNRC’s net asset value by $3.35 per share, based on the current number of outstanding shares.
Assuming Cunningham’s current drilling program is completed as proposed, the independently appraised value of the company’s leasehold position was $352 million as of the end of 2022, according to HNRC.
The acquisition price includes an escrow of preferred shares for certain Cunningham Energy liabilities, HNRC said.
In connection with closing the deal, HNRC plans to change its name to Cunningham Natural Resources Corp. CNRC will focus on traditional oil and gas opportunities, as well as opportunities in energy transition materials like copper and lithium.
Cunningham Energy, managed by principal and operating partner Ryan Cunningham, owns oil and gas leasehold interests on 30,000 net acres in West Virginia, according to regulatory filings.
As part of the company’s future phase 1 development plan, Cunningham plans to permit, drill and complete 20 horizontal wells in the Big Injun, Weir and Berea sandstone formations to fulfill legacy drilling and lease obligations.
Cunningham identified 68 potential sites for well development on its existing leases, and the E&P plans to expand its leasehold footprint through future acquisitions and leasing.
Cunningham Energy will also enter into separate agreements or joint ventures with Houston-based investment group Viper Capital Partners LLC for future development opportunities in the Lower 48, including West Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio and Illinois.
HNRC already owned a 9.9% stake in Cunningham Energy prior to the latest deal. In September 2022, HNRC reached an agreement with Ryan Cunningham to acquire a 9% interest in the Cunningham Energy LLC for a $20,000 payment, the issuance of 3 million common shares and 3 million series B preferred shares, HNRC disclosed in regulatory filings.
Later that year, HNRC upped its stake in Cunningham Energy by purchasing an additional 0.9% interest in exchange for 3 million common shares.
Ryan Cunningham owned 6.7% of HNRC’s preferred stock as of the end of 2022, regulatory filings show. He will continue to manage Cunningham Energy under the new ownership of HNRC.
HNRC also owns minority investments in Rhino Energy Ltd., CE Energy Sponsors LLC and HRN Acquisition Corp.
Earlier this year, HNRC completed a spinoff of its non-energy assets, including legacy businesses in software, telecommunications and consulting, into one business, Worldwide Diversified Holdings Inc.
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