Athlon Energy Inc (NYSE:ATHL) announced on Monday, September 29th that it agreed to be acquired by Encana Corporation (NYSE:ECA) for $58.50 a share in cash. The total value of the deal comes out to $5.93 billion, and Encana also noted it would assume Athlon’s $1.15 billion of senior notes. This makes the total transaction value come to just over $7.1 billion.

Athlon Energy

Private-equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO) owns a controlling interest in Athlon, which pumps out nearly 30,000 barrels a day from the Permian Basin in West Texas. The deal expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter.

Encana praises Athlon team

Encana CEO Doug Suttles announced a restructuring plan to move the firm’s strategy away from the low-profit  natural-gas business to refocus on oil and natural-gas liquids.

“This transformative acquisition further accelerates our strategy and provides us with a prime position in what is widely acknowledged as one of North America’s top oil plays,” Suttles said effusively in a press conference with Athlon Energy Inc (NYSE:ATHL) on Monday morning.

“Any high-quality exploration and production company has to constantly manage its portfolio,” Suttles said, later on in the Q&A. “Clearly we’ve been doing a lot of that this year and we will continue to do it.”

Encana active M&A player recently

Analysts note Encana Corporation (NYSE:ECA) has been an active mergers and acquisitions player over the last few quarters as it seeks to move to oil production and improve profits after years of stagnant natural-gas prices. Encana brought in almost $2.3 billion from the sale of its stake in Canadian royalty firm PrairieSky Royalty Ltd (TSE:PSK) earlier this month.

Earlier this summer, Encana also sold its Bighorn properties in Alberta to Apollo Global Capital Management for around $1.8 billion. The firm also acquired oil assets in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas from Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) for a reported $3.1 billion.

Encana Corporation (NYSE:ECA) said in a statement that the Athlon Energy Inc (NYSE:ATHL) deal adds 140,000 net acres of land and production of about 30,000 barrels of oil a day. The statement also noted the firm plans to invest $1 billion next year to boost drilling in its new oil play.