Shareholder Investigation of EQT Corporation
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EQT Corporation (EQT) Accused of Misleading Investors
According to the complaint against the company for alleged violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 between June 19, 2017 and October 24, 2018, in June 2017, EQT Corporation (EQT) acquired rival gas producer Rice Energy Inc. EQT touted the beneficial synergies of overlapping the two companies’ operations, stating that the contiguity of the companies’ acreages would “drive higher capital efficiency through longer laterals.” However, in July 2017, activist investor JANA Partners LLC disclosed that it acquired a 6% equity stake in EQT and that the Rice merger synergies were “grossly exaggerated.” JANA went on to include that there was “not enough undrilled contiguous acreage blocks to enable dramatic improvement in lateral length” and that the maps EQT used to tout the synergy benefits were “blatantly deceptive.” EQT repeatedly denied the assertions and continued to assure investors of the viability of the acquisition. Then, in October 2018, EQT’s assurances proved to be materially false and misleading when its third-quarter financial results revealed an increase in the period’s overall costs and a reduction in EQT’s full-year forecast for 2018. On this news, EQT shares fell from $40.46 to $31.00 per share, less than half of what the company was worth when the acquisition closed in November 2017. The stock has yet to recover.