Los Angeles-based Breitburn Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ: BBEP) has retained Lazard Frères & Co. LLC as its financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP as its legal advisor to assist with a strategic review process. In addition, Jefferies LLC will provide Breitburn with corporate and financial advisory services, the company said.

Breitburn also announced that it has elected to suspend the declaration of any further distributions on its 8.25% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units (NASDAQ: BBEPP) and 8% Series B Perpetual Convertible Preferred Units and to defer an interest payment of approximately $33.5 million due today on its 7.875% senior notes due April 2022, and an interest payment of approximately $13.2 million on its 8.625% senior notes due October 2020.

The company’s shares plunged over 17% to $0.50 in early trading after the announcement, giving it a market value of approximately $109 million.

Breitburn is the latest victim among a wave of cash-strapped energy companies seeking strategic alternatives and debt restructurings to deal with a prolonged slump in crude prices.

Breitburn has a 30-day grace period after the interest payment date before an event of default occurs. The company has elected to utilize the grace period for the Notes as part of its process to explore strategic alternatives to strengthen its balance sheet and maximize the value of Breitburn. Additionally, it has initiated discussions with its secured debtholders related to alternatives to improve Breitburn’s long-term capital structure.

Breitburn Energy is an independent oil and gas master limited partnership (MLP) focused on the acquisition, exploitations, development and production of  oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and natural gas properties in the United States. The company’’s oil, NGL, and natural gas reserves are primarily located in seven producing areas comprising the Arkansas, Louisiana, and East Texas; Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky; Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico; the Mid-Continent covering Oklahoma, Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle; Rockies in Wyoming and Colorado; Florida and Alabama; and California. As of December 31, 2015, it had estimated proved reserves of 239.3 million barrels of oil equivalent. Breitburn GP LLC serves as the general partner of the company. Breitburn Energy Partners LP was founded in 2006.



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