Drilling Down

McClendon Forms ‘Blank Check’ Firm to Buy Assets

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Aubrey McClendon, founder of American Energy Partners LP and the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp., intends to raise $200 million to back a new company that will purchase oil and gas assets.

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, Avondale Acquisitions Corp. is a “blank check” company formed for the purpose of “effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses.”

The company is offering 20 million units to the public at $10 each, according to the filing. The money would be used to finance the acquisition of onshore gas and oil properties in the United States, the filing says.

“We plan to employ a proactive acquisition strategy focused on onshore U.S. oil and natural gas properties and companies where we believe a combination of our relationships, knowledge and experience in the oil and natural gas industry can be the catalyst to augment or transform companies or properties and accelerate the targeted business’ growth,” the filing says. “In addition, we intend to utilize the network and experience of Mr. McClendon, AELP and their affiliates in seeking a business combination.”

During his tenure as CEO with Chesapeake, McClendon was credited for being among the first executives to see the potential of eastern Ohio’s Utica shale as a major natural gas producer. McClendon was ousted as chairman after Chesapeake shareholders questioned his business practices of using his interests in company wells to leverage more than $1 billion in personal loans from a major lender to Chesapeake.

McClendon is named as a manager and director of the company, the filing states. Scott Mueller is CEO and a director.

Recently, McClendon and American Energy Partners were sued by Chesapeake. The complaint alleges McClendon illegally obtained trade information as he was leaving the company and used this data to establish American Energy in 2013.

This month, American Energy subsidiary American Energy-Utica LLC settled with Chesapeake without McClendon’s approval. McClendon is not a director in American Energy – Utica, but remains a director at the parent company.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.