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Investments on the LINE

Tickers in this article: BRY LINE LNCO
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What an exciting time it is to be a shareholder of Linn Energy (LINE) or its kissing cousin Linn Co. (LNCO) .

The only shareholders you'd think would be more excited are those of independent energy company Berry Petroleum (BRY) . That because on Thursday LINE offered to buy BRY for $2.42 billion in stock to increase its proven reserves by 34%. Shares of BRY surged 19% on the news and were up another 2% on very heavy volume Friday, closing at $46.95.

LINE moved up 2.8% on Thursday and another 2.14% on Friday, ending the week at $38.49. LNCO surged over 5% on Thursday's announcement and moved another 0.69% higher on Friday, closing at $39.27, not far away from its 52-week high of $40.40.

According to a Bloomberg report Thursday, Berry shareholders will get 1.25 shares of publicly traded LNCO, "...a corporation whose only assets are units of Linn Energy, according to a joint statement released Thursday. That values Berry at $46.24 a share, a 20% premium to Wednesday's closing price. LinnCo will sell the Berry assets to Linn Energy in exchange for additional partnership units."

As of Dec. 31, 2011, BRY had working interests in 2,867 net productive oil wells and 282 net productive natural gas wells, and proved undeveloped reserves of 130.1 million barrels of oil equivalent. It sells its crude oil and gas to marketing companies or refiners. The company is also involved in the generation and sale of electricity to public utilities. Berry Petroleum was founded in 1909 and is headquartered in Denver.

LINE's all-stock transaction has been beneficial to its credit ratings but still caused BRY's stock to be put under review by Moody's Investors Service. Just before the market's close on Friday, Moody's affirmed its B1 corporate family rating for Linn Energy and apparently downgraded the outlook for the oil and gas company to developing from negative due to its plans to buy BRY.

According to an Associated Press report, "The ratings service said its revised outlook for Linn reflects the benefit of the addition of Berry's size, scale and low-decline, liquids-focused assets. But it added that Linn's aggressive pace of acquisitions boosts the risks related to the company."

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust -- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.

Now the 2.42-billion-dollar question is how the shareholders of LINE and BRY will react to all these developments. A press release Friday stated that a Wayne, Pa., law firm is investigating potential claims against the board of directors of Berry Petroleum. The press release states the investigation concerns "...possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of law related to the company's BRY efforts to sell the company to Linn Energy, LLC and Linn Co, LLC in a transaction valued at approximately $4.3 billion."