According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, activist investor Carl Icahn has increased his stake in Occidental Petroleum Corp to nearly 10% as he scales up his fight to take control over the oil producer.
As of the end of 2019, Icahn had a stake of around 2.5%.
He was also critical of Occidental’s $38 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum; he charecterised the deal as a misplaced bet on oil prices rising, and promised a proxy fight to win control of the company.
With oil prices having fallen by more than 40% this year, Occidental is straddled with a debt pile of around $40 billion from the Anadarko deal.
Houston-based Occidental has slashed dividend and has announced cost cutting measures to allay investor concerns over profitability, saying the cuts would help it finance expenses.
Occidental’s shares have plunged by 71.4% this year.
Icahn has been pushing the company to consider putting itself up for sale aims to replace Occidental’s entire board.
Occidental’s other large shareholders, including Dodge & Cox, and T. Rowe Price Group are also frustrated with management, said WSJ citing sources familiar with the matter at hand.
Neither, Icahn Enterprises, Occidental, Dodge & Cox, or T. Rowe Price Group immediately responded to requests for comments.