EQT buys Rice Energy to create shale gas drilling giant

Comerica Bank boosted its position in shares of Rice Energy by 106.1% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,747,312 shares of the oil and gas producer's stock valued at $79,997,000 after buying an additional 571,466 shares during the period. They now have a $29.00 target price on the oil and gas producer's stock. Highbridge Capital Management LLC increased its position in Rice Energy by 547.6% in the third quarter.

Rice Energy Inc (NYSE:RICE) and EQT Corporation (NYSE:EQT) announce that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which EQT will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Rice common stock for total consideration of approximately $6.7 billion - consisting of 0.37 shares of EQT common stock and $5.30 in cash per share of Rice common stock.

About 548,520 shares traded.

It is now trading at $25.31 marginally under the 50 day moving average which is $20.86 and just below the 200 day moving average of $21.40. Barclays Capital Inc was Rice Energy's financial adviser and Vinson & Elkins LLP its legal adviser.

In the latest earnings report the EPS was $-1.75 and is expected to be $0.55 for the current year with 205,060,000 shares now outstanding. The firm had revenue of $393.81 million during the quarter, compared to analysts' expectations of $364.60 million. Rice Energy had a positive return on equity of 2.45% and a negative net margin of 27.73%. Equities analysts anticipate that Rice Energy Inc. will post $0.55 EPS for the current year. The United States should soon become the world's top natural gas exporter. At the same time, Rice Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:RMP), the master limited partnership that owns and operates the bulk of the gathering and midstream assets that support Rice Energy's production assets, is trading down nearly 28% on the news while EQT Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:EQM) is trading up 5.2%, while EQT GP Holdings LP (NYSE:EQGP) is up 11%.

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Several research analysts recently weighed in on RICE shares. Scotiabank reaffirmed a "buy" rating and set a $30.00 price objective on shares of Rice Energy in a research report on Thursday, May 4th. As per Friday, March 24, the company rating was initiated by Stifel Nicolaus. Conversely, adding those assets to EQT Midstream would increase its EBITDA 18% on a trailing basis, and that's likely driving Monday's 5% increase in its unit price.

On September 27 the stock rating was downgraded to "Not Rated" from "Neutral" in a statement from Goldman Sachs.

Among 22 analysts covering Rice Energy (NYSE:RICE), 16 have Buy rating, 0 Sell and 6 Hold. Rice Energy presently has a consensus rating of "Buy" and a consensus price target of $30.24.

Rice Energy Inc (Rice Energy) is an independent natural gas and oil company.

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