Shares of Occidental Petroleum (OXY) gained on Monday on reports that billionaire investor Carl Icahn was looking to nominate as many as 10 directors to the oil and gas producer board in a bid to seize control of the petroleum giant.
Occidental stock was up 0.49% to $39.77 in trading on Monday after Bloomberg reported that the billionaire investor plans to name the slate of directors ahead of the company's Nov. 29 deadline for nominations.
Icahn has been a staunch critic of the company - in particular of its CEO Vicki Hollub - over its $37 billion takeover of Anadarko Petroleum completed in August. Specifically, Icahn has publicly criticized the lack of a shareholder vote and the $10 billion in financing from fellow billionaire investor Warren Buffett it used to get the deal done.
In a Nov. 8 letter explaining his decision to launch a proxy fight, Icahn said the merger made "no sense" to anyone other than Hollub and certain members of the board, who he said "grossly overpaid" for Anadarko to avoid becoming a takeover target themselves.
Occidental stock has slumped more than 40% since its interest in Anadarko was first revealed in April. The Houston-based company this month said it plans to cut spending by 40% next year and accelerate asset sales in order to pay down debt and protect its dividend, both of which Hollub has described as "top priorities."
Icahn isn't alone in his criticism of the Anadarko deal and its impact on Occidental. In a research note to clients on Friday, JPMorgan analyst Phil Gresh noted that absent higher oil prices or a dividend cut, that there is no 'easy way out' of the company's financial predicament.