Activists use pandemic to spur change

Article Excerpt

Sharp share-price drops due to the coronavirus outbreak will likely encourage activist investors to raise their stake in—and influence on—these three firms (including Sony—see box). However, for reasons outlined below, we advise you to stay on the sidelines, at least for now. OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORP. $14 is a hold, but only for aggressive investors. The company (New York symbol OXY; Resources sector; Shares outstanding: 899.3 million; Market cap: $12.6 billion; Dividend yield: 3.1%; Takeover Target Rating: Medium; www.oxy.com) is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the U.S., Latin America, and the Middle East. Activist billionaire investor Carl Icahn has raised his stake in the oil and gas company to almost 10%, up from less than 3% at the end of 2019. Icahn doesn’t believe the $38 billion that Occidental paid last year for Anadarko Petroleum was a good one. Note—the deal left the company with more than $40 billion in debt. Icahn has pushed Occidental to consider putting itself up…

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