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The Deal: Activist Investors Target Oil Industry

However, a professional involved in several of these situations said activists' focus on boosting near-term share prices doesn't make for the best long-term profitability. "This is a fad, and in two years, I suspect, there won't be much activity," the professional said.

Allen Brooks, an analyst at Houston energy services investment banking boutique PPHB, agreed, describing the emergence of activist shareholders targeting exploration and production companies for mismanaging their businesses as the normal counterbalance of capital markets and may slow with the doubling of natural gas prices this spring. But for managements of truly troubled companies, he said: "We would remind them of what one of our stock market-savvy bosses used to remind us: 'Wishing and hoping isn't a strategy.' "

Written by Claire Poole in New York

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