The U.S. Department of Justice has dropped an antitrust investigation into SandRidge Energy’s leasing practices.
In a regulatory filing published on Friday, SandRidge said it has been notified by the DOJ that it is “no longer a subject or target of the previously reported grand jury investigation” into possible antitrust violations tied to its purchasing and leasing practices.
The investigation had been looking into purchase or leases of land, oil or natural gas rights made by the Oklahoma-based company dating back to 2012 and “prior years.”
Last month, the DOJ announced that a federal grand jury had indicted former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon for conspiring to rig oil and natural gas leasing bids in northwest Oklahoma.
McClendon allegeldy “orchestrated” a conspiracy between “two large” oil and gas companies from December 2007 to March 2012.
The DOJ declined to name the second company in its statement, but a class-action lawsuit filed in March indicated the second company was SandRidge Energy.
Sources close to the matter told Bloomberg last month that SandRidge was the second company mentioned in the DOJ’s statement.
Former SandRidge Energy CEO and chairman Tom Ward co-founded Chesapeake Energy with McClendon in 1989.
McClendon, 56, died in a car accident barely one day after the charges were announced.
A DOJ spokesperson told NewsOK that the agency’s investigation into the oil and natural gas industry remains ongoing.
SandRidge said earlier this month that it has engaged advisers to evaluate strategic alternatives that could include restructuring, refinancing of existing debt through a private restructuring or reogranizaiton under Chapter 11.
“As a result of these uncertainties and the likelihood of a restructuring or reorganization, management has concluded that there is substantial doubt regarding the company’s ability to continue as a going concern as it is currently structured,” SandRidge said in the filing.
SandRidge’s total debt stood at $3.6 billion as of December 31.
The company also had $11 million in outstanding letters of credit as of December 31 and preferred stock outstanding with an aggregate liquidation preference of $542 million.