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Exclusive: Warburg's Antero Resources plans IPO - sources

By Michael Erman and Olivia Oran

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Antero Resources, an oil and natural gas company controlled by Warburg Pincus LLC, is preparing for an initial public offering that could value it at as much as $10 billion, three people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The Denver, Colorado-based company has hired Barclays Plc , JP Morgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc to lead the deal, two of the people said on condition of anonymity because the plans are private. The company could come to the stock market later this year, they added.

Barclays, Citigroup and Warburg declined to comment. JPMorgan could not be reached for comment.

Antero reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $434.3 million in 2012, up from $340.8 million in 2011.

The company has around 311,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale formation in West Virginia and Pennsylvania as well as 92,000 acres in Ohio's Utica Shale.

Antero believes that most of their acreage in the Marcellus holds natural gas liquids, which tend to be worth more than "dry" gas.

The company said its Utica acreage sits in a region that it believes holds natural gas liquids. The Utica shale is an emerging region that has attracted the interest of big oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp.

Antero's said earlier this year that its proved, probable and possible reserves were 26.1 trillion cubic feet equivalent of gas and oil.

According to Thomson Reuters data, there have been only three U.S.-listed IPOs in the energy and power space year-to-date that raised proceeds of $973 million. That's down from eight companies which raised $2.2 billion during the same time last year.

Warburg and other investors including energy-dedicated private equity firm Yorktown Energy Partners and Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking Group initially invested $260 million in Antero in 2003. Four years later, the consortium led a $1 billion equity investment in the company.

Private equity firms are increasingly looking to public markets in 2013 to profitably exit their investments as the frothy stock market has buoyed the value of companies public and private alike.

(Reporting By Michael Erman and Olivia Oran; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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