Buyers question Blackstone’s Saudi-led oil pipeline deal

Investors query Blackstone’s Saudi-led oil pipeline deal

One of many first offers signed by Blackstone’s Saudi Arabia-backed infrastructure fund appeared to traders to be in jeopardy on Monday, after the dominion’s oil value struggle prompted a collapse within the shares of US pipeline firm Tallgrass Power.

The Blackstone fund, unveiled throughout President Donald Trump’s inaugural international journey to Riyadh in 2017, agreed to purchase Tallgrass for $22.45 a share in money, valuing the corporate at $6.33bn.

However whereas the inventory had traded near that provide value because the deal was introduced in December, it abruptly fell on Monday by as a lot as 33 per cent. By the shut on Wall Avenue the inventory was altering palms at $17.98, down greater than 12 per cent.

Analysts mentioned the decline pointed to uncertainty about Blackstone’s intentions. “I wouldn’t be stunned if Blackstone is searching for a loophole to again out, or revise the worth,” mentioned Stephen Ellis, an analyst at Morningstar. “The market clearly thinks that is probably.”

Blackstone faces a monetary penalty if it walks away from the deal, in line with regulatory filings on the phrases of the deal, which might apply even when the worth of Tallgrass is hammered by an financial downturn or act of struggle. That penalty is capped at $70m, nonetheless — far lower than the $800m wiped off the worth of Tallgrass’s listed A shares on Monday.

If Blackstone was to scotch the deal or search to change its phrases, it will be an early signal of collateral harm to Saudi Arabia’s personal funding portfolio from its determination on Sunday to extend crude manufacturing and slash costs, which triggered a crash within the oil value.

“We intend to proceed to adjust to our obligations beneath the merger settlement,” Blackstone instructed the Monetary Instances on Monday, including that it was working to finish the steps required earlier than a Tallgrass shareholder assembly on April 16.

Blackstone’s infrastructure fund was initially pitched as a approach to pump funds into the US financial system’s ageing bodily spine and was introduced with as much as $20bn of monetary backing from Saudi Arabia.

The Tallgrass acquisition was among the many fund’s first offers, and guarantees to place Stephen Schwarzman’s group in charge of main pipelines together with the Pony Categorical, which feeds crude from wells within the western US to the large tank complicated at Cushing, Oklahoma.

Analysts say that power transmission networks are weak to the financial fallout from depressed oil costs, which might power US shale operators to slash manufacturing. The value of West Texas Intermediate crude at Cushing was $32.19 a barrel on Monday, down 22 per cent from final week.

About 10 per cent of Tallgrass Power’s $868.5m in 2019 income got here from Continental Sources, the biggest oil producer within the Bakken shale area of North Dakota and Montana, whose shares had been down 47 per cent on Monday. “The lack of this buyer may have a fabric hostile impact on our monetary outcomes,” Tallgrass mentioned in its most up-to-date annual report.

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