Former Chesapeake CEO McClendon Stages Comeback

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Former Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK  ) CEO Aubrey McClendon has reportedly raised as much as $500 million for his new venture, American Energy Partners LP, and is ramping up purchases with an eye on Ohio's Utica Shale.

McClendon, who was forced to step down as Chesapeake's CEO in January 2013, is staging what many analysts are calling a comeback with a new venture and new stakes in US onshore oil and natural gas deposits.

Bloomberg reported on 29 January that American Energy Partners LP had raised as much as $500 million through an affiliate to acquire US onshore stakes and non-operated working interests.

The exclusive private equity investor here is Houston-based Energy & Minerals Group, led by John T. Raymond, for the affiliate "American Energy – NonOp LLC.

So far, in total McClendon has bounced back from the Chesapeake debacle to raise some $1.7 billion from several private equity firms over the past year.

In December, McClendon announced plans to raise up to $2 billion through the sale of units in a blind pool investment, a speculative vehicle with no assets or profits—a formula which affords backers a chance to help fund potential oil and gas developments, according to Bloomberg.

The meantime, American Energy Partners has reportedly agreed to buy natural gas fields from Hess Corporation for $924 million. While the buyer for Hess' 74,000 acres in Ohio's Utica Shale remains undisclosed, media outlets are speculating that it is McClendon. 
McClendon's resignation from Chesapeake, which he founded, was a dramatic one, in terms of media coverage. While McClendon was credited with much of the company's growth and its status as the second biggest natural gas producer in the US, he became embroiled in a financial scandal that caused investors to seek his resignation.

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