Thursday, May 17, 2012

Has Chesapeake Found a Savior in Icahn?

From Seeking Alpha:
It was recently announced that activist investor Carl Icahn has likely taken a significant stake in the embattled natural gas company Chesapeake Energy (CHK).
The news served as a pre-market catalyst, sending the stock up over 10% in the early session on Monday. While these gains will likely stabilize throughout the day and the week, the entrance of Mr. Icahn is an interesting signal for the stock. Clearly the market likes the move, having been looking for some reason to stem the slide that is largely blamed on the company's Chief Executive Officer, Aubrey McClendon. Since news broke about a month ago, linking Mr. McClendon's personal finances to activities of the company, shares have tumbled at an alarming rate for shareholders of the world's second largest natural gas producer; this fall was capped with a 14% decline last Friday. Many investors have alreadycalled for Mr. McClendon's resignation from the company, but the appearance of Mr. Icahn does not bode well for the CEO's future.
Regardless of what one thinks of Mr. Icahn, and there are plenty who are not fans, his involvement with a company has an impact. For example, Mr. Icahn recently seized controlling interest in CVR Energy (CVI). In this deal, Mr. Icahn purchased a significant interest in the company and then the fun started. After months of fighting with the Board of Directors, Mr. Icahn successfully forced through his $2.6 billion takeover bid, giving him 69% ownership of the company. The result is that seven of the company's nine Board members will likely be replaced and the direction of the company will be driven be Mr. Icahn and his nominees to the Board. Speculation abounds that given his great success with CVR, Chesapeake is next on his list. With the current weakness in the stock, and the swirling controversy around Mr. McClendon's role, this is not a huge stretch.
Read the rest of the article here.

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