Natural gas producer Contango Oil & Gas Co. (MCF
) slipped -15.81%, largely due to an acquisition. The company was also negatively affected by both the write down of a key reserve and a one-off maintenance on an important well. Clearly, however, the most important event was the acquisition of Crimson Exploration (CXPO
). The market responded as if it were a surprise, but we did not think it one. That is, Contango had always operated with no debt, and eventually it would follow one of two paths: sell itself to a larger producer or use its balance sheet to acquire a distressed, leveraged competitor. In doing the latter, Contango emerges with more assets, more cash flows and yet has low leverage. We continue to admire the company and believe it to be quite cheap.