Love him or hate him, Carl Icahn has an undeniable penchant for getting results. Since Icahn started taking aim at Kerr-McGee
In today's mid-quarter update, Kerr-McGee gave a little more color on just what it's been up to and what might still lie ahead.
Just the other day, Kerr-McGee announced the completion of a Dutch auction self-tender offer. Nearly 47 million shares, or roughly 29% of the total shares outstanding, were tendered for a price of $85 per share -- some 16% higher than the stock's current price. While this represents a significant return of capital for those who gave up their shares, the company had to put itself deeper into hock to do it.
But that's not all that's going on these days. The company is continuing its dual-track process of getting rid of the chemicals business -- it is taking bids for a possible sale, but also moving forward with an S-1 filing to permit separating that business and floating it publicly. Given that the process of evaluating bids (and performing due diligence) takes time, and that the summer is generally a bad time to take companies public, investors shouldn't expect a lot of action on this front until the fall.
Finally, the company is also progressing with a sale of oil and gas properties. The properties make up about 25% of the company's production base and 15% of reserves. Located mostly in the Gulf of Mexico shelf, North Sea, and onshore in the U.S., Kerr-McGee hopes to reap between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in proceeds.
Now, why on earth would an oil and gas company be selling productive assets when so many companies are struggling to maintain their production levels? Well, it's the nature of the assets in question. What Kerr-McGee is selling are by and large "steep decline" properties -- properties with short expected life spans that will require ever-increasing capital investment to stay productive. So by selling, not only will Kerr-McGee see hard cash in return, but it will also free itself of future capital investment requirements.
Kerr-McGee is in a delicate position right now. With Icahn breathing down its neck, management may be tempted to reach a little further than necessary to "prove" its loyalty to shareholder value. That said, the company has a strong history, and with solid new prospects in places like Alaska, Brazil, China's Bohai Bay, and the Rockies (the latter two have been working well for gas producer Ultra Petroleum
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).