Natural gas explorer and producer EQT Corp. made a big acquisition, but it wasn't the one some had expected.

In January, hedge fund Chapter IV Investors urged the company to merge with other companies in the Marcellus Shale, the large natural gas play that stretches from West Virginia to New York state. It noted such potential targets as Antero Resources Corp. and Range Resources Corp., which it thought would give EQT a better exploration and production business and more growth for its midstream, or infrastructure, business. "We think....[it's] an incredibly compelling opportunity that should be explored," the fund's founder W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer wrote in a letter to EQT's board.

Instead, EQT went after smaller Rice Energy Inc. with an offer of $6.7 billion in cash and stock. The deal will make it the largest natural gas producer in the U.S. -- and thus is a big bet on the low-priced commodity eventually rising with increasing demand from utilities and industrial customers. The transaction also provides a nice payday for the Rice family and Rice Energy's private equity investors.

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I have had 3 parcels leased for 4 years with Rice. No drilling. Perhaps this will be good nees for a lot of people!
Any activity going on around Holbrook, Pa.?


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