QEP Resources Inc. — the energy explorer Elliott Management Corp. proposed to buy last week — is working with Evercore Inc. to explore a sale, according to people familiar with the matter. Its shares rose as much as 5.4 percent on the news.
QEP is working with the New York-based investment bank to conduct a strategic review, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The oil and gas explorer is likely to draw interest from rivals and private equity firms, in addition to Elliott, the people said.
No final decision has been made and QEP could opt to remain independent, the people said.
Representatives for Elliott and Evercore declined to comment. QEP didn’t respond to requests for comment.
QEP rose 4 percent to $8.85 at 1:28 p.m. in New York trading, giving the company a market value of about $2.1 billion.
Elliott proposed last week to buy Denver-based QEP for $8.75 a share in cash, or about $2 billion. The hedge fund has a 5 percent stake in the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
QEP controls about 50,000 net acres in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, the most productive oilfield in the U.S.
The area is ripe for consolidation because it is dense with a lot of small and midsize drillers that could benefit from pairing up to cut costs, analysts and investors say.