Linn  Energy, LLC (Nasdaq:LINE) and Berry Petroleum Company (NYSE:BRY) said Monday their boards of directors have approved an amended version of their merger agreement to increase the shares Linn will issue for the Berry common stock tendered until the end date for the deal of January 31, 2014.

Under the amended terms of the agreement, Linn has agreed to increase the number of common shares it is issuing to 1.68 common shares, from 1.25 common shares, for each common share of Berry outstanding prior to the merger for total consideration of approximately $4.9 billion, including the assumption of debt, Linn said.

The transaction, which is structured as a stock-for-stock merger  and is expected to be tax-free to Berry shareholders.

The proposed merger will create one of the largest independent oil and natural gas companies in North America with pro forma production of more than 1 Bcfe per day and proved reserves of approximately 6.6 Tcfe (54 percent liquids).

In a joint statement, Mark E. Ellis, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Linn Energy, and Robert F. Heinemann, President and Chief Executive Officer, Berry Petroleum Company, said, “The boards and management teams of LINN and Berry remain committed to completing this merger. We continue to believe that, upon completion, this transaction will create tremendous value for Linn Energy, LinnCo and Berry investors.”

The acquisition will give Linn increased presence in California, the Permian Basin, East Texas, and the Rockies, as well as the addition of a new core area in the Uinta Basin. Berry has 2,850 producing wells and more than 200,000 net acres.

Linn Energy is a top-15 U.S. independent oil and natural gas development company.

It had about 4.8 Tcfe of proved reserves in producing U.S. basins at the end of 2012.


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