Exxon-Pioneer Deal Is a Big Score for Oil Boutique Petrie

The biggest deal of the year has thrown up a much-needed win for the US’s major investment banks — and one of its smallest.

(Bloomberg) — The biggest deal of the year has thrown up a much-needed win for the US’s major investment banks — and one of its smallest. 

Petrie Partners, home to a tight team of energy specialists, is among half a dozen banks working on Exxon Mobil Corp.’s $60 billion takeover of Pioneer Natural Resources Co. 

It’s advising Pioneer alongside Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp., with Citigroup Inc. and Centerview Partners LLC on the Exxon side. 

For Petrie, a firm little-known outside of Denver and Houston, the transaction is more than 10 times bigger than anything it’s advised on before, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s also overnight made the firm a top 15 adviser on deals by value in 2023, the data show.

To be sure, Petrie’s bankers have a long track record as dealmakers in the energy patch. 

Petrie Partners traces its roots to Petrie Parkman & Co., a boutique started in 1989 by First Boston Corp. alumni Thomas Petrie, a star oil analyst, and James Parkman, a mergers and acquisitions banker. 

Together, they carved out a niche advising on important early shale deals, including Western Gas’s 2006 sale to Anadarko Petroleum, which at the time helped create the largest independent oil and gas company in the US.

Enter, Merrill

That same year, Petrie Parkman said it would go public in an initial public offering, only for Merrill Lynch to buy the firm before a listing could happen. Merrill Lynch was itself later subsumed by Bank of America during the financial crisis. 

In 2012, Petrie left Bank of America to join a group of his former Petrie Parkman colleagues — including John Hughes, Mike Bock and Andrew Rapp — at a newly formed energy boutique called Strategic Energy Advisors.

“I think we did 200-plus transactions—some $85 billion in M, A&D alone—during our time at Petrie Parkman,” Hughes said in a 2013 interview with Hart Energy. “When we sold it to Merrill Lynch in 2006, there was a strong strategic basis for the deal, but it turned out that Merrill had some issues. We met a lot of good people at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, but in the end we feel we are more boutique-oriented.”

Strategic Energy Advisors was later renamed Petrie Partners. The firm’s other notable advisory wins have included working on Whiting Petroleum Corp.’s $6 billion acquisition of Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. in 2014, and Noble Energy Inc.’s multibillion-dollar purchase of Rosetta Resources Inc. the following year. 

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.