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Investigations  /  12.17.2020

Investigation of EQT Corporation

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EQT Corporation (EQT) Allegedly Made False Statements About Its Acquisition of Rice Energy Inc.

On June 19, 2017, EQT announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire rival gas producer Rice for $6.7 billion (the “Acquisition”). EQT asserted that, “by combining EQT’s and Rice’s contiguous acreage, EQT could drill natural-gas wells with longer laterals,” which EQT claimed would “generate cost savings and synergies amounting to at least $2.5 billion from the economies of scale that would result from drilling longer wells from the same well pads.”  The Acquisition closed on November 13, 2017.

On October 25, 2018, EQT disclosed shockingly bad financial results for the three months ended September 30, 2018, reporting an increase in capital expenditures for 2018 by $300 million to $2.5 billion and a quarterly net loss of $40 million. On an analyst and investor call that same day, EQT acknowledges it had not lived up to its prior statements about the Acquisition.  On this news, EQT shares fell 13%, dropping from a close of $40.46 per share on October 24, 2018 to $35.34 on October 25, 2018, erasing nearly $700 million in shareholder value in a single day. Over the next several days, EQT shares fell to as low as $31.00 per share—less than half what the Company was worth when the Acquisition closed in November 2017.

On December 2, 2020, the U.S. District Court denied EQT’s motion to dismiss a class action complaint alleging that EQT violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with statements made about the Acquisition, paving the way for litigation to proceed.

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