Meister's Corvex Ups Stake In Energen, Ramps Up Pressure

Jun 28 2017 | 11:26pm ET

Keith Meister's activist hedge fund Corvex Management LP has raised its stake in oil and gas producer Energen to 7.6% and criticized the company’s decision to maintain the status quo following a review of strategic alternatives.  

In late May, Corvex disclosed a 5.5% stake in Energen and called for a possible sale of the firm. Energen said on June 19 that it had completed a strategic review of alternatives and would be sticking with its business plan, a decision Meister described as “disappointing,” according to Reuters citing a June 27 letter including in U.S. securities filings. 

Corvex also took issue with the process, saying it was a “poorly run” and without any formal procedure in place to solicit shareholder input. For its part, Energen says it had retained two financial advisors (including JPMorgan Chase) for advice with the review, that it had received input from many of the company’s largest shareholders and that it remained committed to an “open mind” about value creation opportunities.  

The new percentage makes the activist hedge fund Energen’s fifth largest shareholder, according to Thomson Reuters data. 

Meister, who founded Corvex in 2011 with $250 million in seed capital from George Soros, was CEO of Icahn Enterprises from 2003 to 2006 and is a protégé of billionaire activist Carl Icahn. The company manages approximately $5.5 billion in mostly equity investments, special situations and distressed securities largely in North America.

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