Chesapeake Energy hires debt advisers for possible restructuring

Saudi Arabia and Russia oil war, coronavirus fears contribute to struggles

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the oil and gas exploration and production company that helped spearhead the U.S. shale revolution, has tapped debt restructuring advisers amid a rout in energy prices, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

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The Oklahoma City-based company, which was co-founded by late wildcatter Aubrey McClendon, was struggling with its debt pile of roughly $9 billion even before an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic contributed to driving its shares down more than 50% in the last three weeks.

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Chesapeake has enlisted restructuring lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and investment bankers at Rothschild & Co who specialize in reworking debt, the four sources said. The company is studying its options and no debt restructuring move is imminent, the sources added, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

Chesapeake, Kirkland and Rothschild had no immediate comment.

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