In a deal that will see control of a Texas oil dynasty shift to an up-and-coming oil and gas player, Fort Worth-based XTO Energy announced Tuesday its $4.5 billion acquisition of Dallas-based Hunt Petroleum Co. Founded 83 years ago by legendary wildcatter Haroldson Lafayette (H.L.) Hunt Jr., Hunt Petroleum is merging with XTO, a leading U.S. natural gas producer that has been extremely active on the M&A front.

Martin McNamara, an M&A partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher‘s Dallas office, is leading the XTO team, which includes David Schiller, co-chair of the firm’s employee benefits practice; tax partner David Sinak; and associates Chad Mead, Anthony Shoemaker, Robert Lindsey and Greg Walker. (The firm represented XTO on its June 2007 acquisition of natural gas properties from Richmond-based Dominion Resources for $2.5 billion.) XTO general counsel Frank McDonald and associate general counsel Warren Ludlow are handling the matter in-house.

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