Shares for Chesapeake Energy, the second-largest natural gas producer in the US, plunged as much as 50% Monday morning (Feb. 8) on news that the company has reportedly hired restructuring lawyers from the firm Kirkland & Ellis. Shares are now down about 34%.
The news was first reported by trade publication Debtwire Friday night. The company released a statement Monday morning saying that it isn’t filing for bankruptcy, which had been a big fear among investors.
Chesapeake had $11.6 billion in debt as of Sept. 30, according to FactSet. In December, Bloomberg said the company brought in restructuring advisory firm Evercore Partners after asking (and successfully getting) creditors to exchange their debt for bonds that gave the company a little more breathing room. Neither Chesapeake nor Kirkland & Ellis immediately responded to Quartz’s requests for comment.
As with oil, natural gas prices have been falling on the back of building supply and lower demand. A particularly warm winter hasn’t helped, either.