Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: EXCO Resources Inc's(NYSE: XCO) stock surged Wednesday morning after the company announced that it had entered into a services and investment agreement with energy-focused private equity firm Bluescape Resources. Under the terms of the agreement, Bluescape will invest $10 million directly into the company and make another $40 million in stock purchases on the open market over the course of the next year. In addition to that, Bluescape Executive Chairman John Wilder will join EXCO's board and become its executive chairman, with EXCO President and Chief Operating Officer Harold Hickey being named its new CEO.
So what: While a $50 million investment might not sound like a lot of money, it is roughly 10% of the company's current market capitalization. That large block of stock along with a cash retainer and a warrant package that Bluescape will also receive as part of the deal will help to align its interests with current shareholders. Those interests include turning around EXCO's business and repositioning it as a value creator instead of the value destroyer it has become, as evidenced by a stock that is down 85% since the company went public.
Now what: By aligning itself with a strategic investor, EXCO is not only getting a small cash infusion and a large outside investor, but it is getting a partner with years of industry experience to help it work through a turnaround plan. That plan, if successful, could help the company begin to reverse years of underperformance. It won't be an easy task, as EXCO has nearly $1.5 billion in debt outstanding, but it is a step in the right direction.