UPDATE 1-Linn Energy to pay $600 mln more for Berry Petroleum

Monday, 4 Nov 2013 | 8:07 AM ET

* Berry shareholders to now get 1.68 LinnCo shares, up from 1.25 shares

* Deal valued at $4.9 bln, including debt

* Berry shares up about 8 pct premarket

Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. oil and gas producer Linn Energy LLC agreed to raise its purchase price for Berry Petroleum Co by $600 million to $4.9 billion, the companies said in a statement.

Shares of Linn rose 2.4 percent in premarket trading, while Berry stock was up about 8 percent.

The higher price follows a drop in shares of LinnCo LLC , a holding company set up by Linn for acquisitions.

Under the new agreement, Berry shareholders will receive 1.68 LinnCo shares for each Berry share they hold. This is higher than the original offer of 1.25 shares.

Shares of LinnCo, which only owns Linn units and has no assets or operations, have dropped 10 percent since the deal was announced on Feb. 21.

Berry shares have risen 26 percent since then.

The deal will help Linn raise its output by a third and boost its oil reserves.

The companies also agreed on Monday to extend the end date - or the date after which any party may terminate the pending deal - to Jan. 31, 2014, from Oct. 31, according to the statement.

The Securities and Exchange Commission began an inquiry in July related to the deal as well as Linn and LinnCo's hedging strategies and certain other financial measures.

The deal is the first acquisition of a corporation by an oil and gas producer structured as a master limited partnership or a limited liability company.

Berry will be converted into a limited liability company under the deal, allowing Linn to own Berry's assets in a pass-through entity without any immediate payment of tax.

LinnCo shares closed at $33.21 on the Nasdaq on Friday, while Linn shares ended at $30.82. Berry stock closed at $48.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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