Management at Canada's PetroKazakhstan (NYSE:PKZ) certainly doesn't mess around. Less than two months after acknowledging the receipt of buyout offers and signaling a willingness to consider a sale, the company has announced a definitive agreement to sell for $55 per share in cash.

PetroKazakhstan will be selling out to China's CNPC, the parent company of PetroChina (NYSE:PTR). While this deal is not being led by PetroChina, it wouldn't surprise this Fool to see PetroChina end up running some or all of PetroKazakhstan's assets (through a joint venture or other arrangement) in the future.

The deal looks pretty reasonable from a valuation standpoint. Not only is the price offered a 21% premium to Friday's close, but CNPC will also be paying about $12 per barrel of proven reserves -- more than a 15% premium to the recently completed Chevron (NYSE:CVX)-Unocal deal. While it is true that the deal looks cheap on a P/E basis -- the company is being taken out at a P/E of only 7, versus a peer-group average near 19 -- energy deals are generally valued in terms of dollars per barrel of reserves, not by earnings.

There is a further twist to this deal that I find interesting. CNPC is considering a proposal from PetroKazakhstan management to create a spinoff company that will be funded with $1/share in cash, or about $76 million. This spinoff would then seek new oil and gas development projects throughout Central Asia -- though not in Kazakhstan. Should CNPC go through with this plan, investors would have the option to receive $54 in cash and one share of the new company for each share of PetroKazakhstan, with a pro-rata system put in place for those who'd rather have the extra dollar.

As the recent Chevron, Unocal, and CNOOC (NYSE:CEO) entanglement showed, an announced agreement is not necessarily the end of the story. CNPC beat out a joint offer from India's ONGC and MittalSteel (NYSE:MT), but there's no way to say whether a rival bid will come into the picture. Under terms of the agreement, though, PetroKazakhstan cannot solicit competing bids. It would have to offer CNPC the right to match another bid and pay a $125 million breakup fee if a different proposal is accepted.

This deal seems to have a good chance of acceptance. China and Kazakhstan are generally on friendly terms, and China should become a major consumer of Kazakh energy in the years to come. So while the Kazakh government will almost certainly exercise its right to review the deal, I wouldn't imagine it would balk at Chinese ownership of these assets.

It's been a long, strange run for PetroKazakhstan and its shareholders. Long-term investors got a nice cash return on their patience, and who knows whether the potential spinoff could become another PetroKazakhstan in the future?

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson owns shares of PetroChina. The Fool has a disclosure policy.