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Reuters: Chesapeake CEO arranged new $450 million loan from company financier

BY JENNIFER ABLAN Reuters Modified: May 8, 2012 at 8:04 pm •  Published: May 8, 2012
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An EIG spokeswoman declined to comment on the newest loan or on concerns of some analysts over EIG's dual role as a financier to Chesapeake and its CEO.

In an April 23 letter to investors in two of EIG's investment funds, EIG chief executive officer R. Blair Thomas said it is "simply untrue" that there was any conflict of interest in its loans to McClendon and dealings with Chesapeake.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an informal inquiry into Chesapeake's well program and the transactions involving McClendon.

In the letter, Thomas discussed two earlier loan deals that EIG had done with McClendon, involving McClendon-controlled entities called Larchmont Resources LLC and Jamestown Resources LLC. There was no mention in the letter of the financing deal completed in March to Pelican Energy.

The person familiar with the deal said Pelican was not mentioned in the letter because EIG clients "already knew about Pelican" and the loan hasn't been disbursed yet.

This person added that when Pelican was launched, EIG sent a letter and "information packet" to clients advising them of the new financing and opening the loan vehicle up to investor participation.

EIG, which spun out of the Los Angeles-based bond shop TCW in 2011, has $13 billion of assets under management.

In the latest $450 million financing, EIG secured as collateral all the assets of Pelican Energy LLC. These include McClendon's interests in wells Chesapeake might drill in 2013 and the first half of 2014. The EIG financing to Pelican will be used to enable McClendon to continue in the Chesapeake well program through June 2014.

For years, McClendon used companies he controls, including Larchmont, Jamestown and Arcadia Resources LP, to hold his stakes in the Chesapeake wells.

EIG funded Larchmont and Jamestown at $375 million and $500 million, respectively. EIG did not lend any money to Arcadia, which borrowed as much as $225 million in 2009.

The investors in the EIG funds that lent to McClendon include U.S. public pension funds, foundations and wealthy investors in Europe and Australia.

In his April 23 letter to clients, Thomas of EIG defended the two prior loans to McClendon, writing: "The crux of the story as it relates to EIG seems to be that we got too good a deal for our investors."

(Reporting by Jennifer Ablan; additional reporting by Brian Grow, Anna Driver and Jonathan Stempel; Edited by Matthew Goldstein and Michael Williams)


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