El Paso Corp. to sell oil, gas assets for $7.15B

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HOUSTON (AP) — El Paso Corp. said Friday that it is selling its oil and gas exploration and production business to an investor group for $7.15 billion.

The deal calls for El Paso to sell EP Energy Corp. to affiliates of Apollo Global Management LLC, Riverstone Holdings LLC and Access Industries Inc., among others.

The transaction is subject to the closing of Houston pipeline company Kinder Morgan Inc.'s proposed acquisition of El Paso for $20.7 billion.

That deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, as is the sale of EP Energy.

Kinder Morgan plans to use most of the proceeds of the EP Energy sale to pay down debt it has taken on to fund the El Paso acquisition.

"We are pleased that this pending sale will allow the El Paso exploration and production assets to be kept intact as a single entity," said Kinder Morgan Chairman and CEO Richard D. Kinder.

Kinder Morgan will more than double the size of its pipeline network by purchasing El Paso. The new pipeline system will stretch 80,000 miles — long enough to wind around the globe three times. Kinder Morgan's pipelines in the Rocky Mountains, the Midwest and Texas will be woven together with El Paso's expansive network that spreads east from the Gulf Coast to New England, and to the west through New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.

Shares of Kinder Morgan ended regular trading up 92 cents, or 2.9 percent, at $33.24. The shares added 33 cents to $33.57 in aftermarket trading.

Apollo Global Management shares slipped a penny in extended trading to $14.15. The stock ended regular trading up 23 cents at $14.16.

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