Chesapeake surges after board member buys 2.1 million shares

By Ryan Collins on 12/26/2018
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Photo: Chesapeake Energy operations.

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- Chesapeake Energy Corp. shares rose as much as 17% in their biggest intraday rally since February after a board member bought more than $4 million in additional stock.

Archie Dunham purchased 2.1 million shares Dec. 21, increasing his position to more than 1% of the company, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Together, Dunham and Chesapeake Chairman R. Brad Martin have bought shares six times this month. The company’s shares have fallen 36% since the end of November.

The shale driller has seen its market capitalization fall to just $1.7 billion in the last five months from almost $5 billion. Despite a recent surge in natural gas prices, the whole sector has felt the weight of falling crude prices and the broader equities rout. Chesapeake is in the midst of a strategy change, intending to focus more on oil production and being less reliant on gas. It agreed to buy WildHorse Resource Development Corp., a crude driller in Texas and Louisiana, in October for $2.27 billion.

Gordon Pennoyer, a spokesman for Chesapeake, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. The driller rose 23.02 cents to $1.9602 a share at 11:35 a.m. in New York. Earlier, it touched $2.02.

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