Hedge fund Angelo Gordon & Co. on May 26 bought $33 million worth of Northern Oil & Gas Inc.'s debt and said it was planning to push for deals that would increase the shale producer's cash reserves.

Angelo, which is already the second-largest owner of Northern with a nearly 10% equity stake, said a potential transaction could include an exchange of equity or debt securities of the company.

Northern has been trying to cut its debt load of more than $1 billion for months by using a so-called "debt-for-equity" swap among other things. In January, Northern gave Angelo Gordon 387,695 preferred shares in exchange for around $35.8 million of its notes owned by the fund.

Lockdowns imposed to arrest the spread of the coronavirus have sent the oil and gas market into one of its worst downturns ever, with U.S. crude oil prices turning negative for the first time in history last month.

The downturn has pushed oil companies to revamp their strategies, including slashing spending and production to save cash and cutting shareholder returns.

Their debt is also trading for pennies on the dollar, giving hedge funds an opportunity to load up on their bonds.

Texas billionaire Robert Rowling, who owns the Omni Hotels and Gold's Gym businesses, has also been boosting his stake in Northern. He owned a 22.7% stake in the shale producer, according to a filing by his TRT Holdings funds in March.