Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) has had a not so great year up until recently. About a month ago, Chesapeake CEO, Aubrey McClendon was caught in a scandal in which the CEO was putting his own money into company ran oil wells. This sparked outrage and right around that time was when activist investor, Carl Icahn was showing interest in the energy company.
Carl Icahn has not been a holder very long of Chesapeake but his activism is already receiving praise because Icahn has already gotten CEO Aubrey McClendon in check and the company on a better path. Argus Research upgraded shares of Chesapeake today on the sole reason was that Icahn shook up the Board of Directors.
Here is what Argus Research has to say about the upgrade: “While we don’t yet know who the new directors will be or how much impact they will ultimately have, we view these changes as at least incremental positives,” “In our view, poor corporate governance has had decidedly negative effects on CHK,” says Argus Research.
There is no doubt that Carl Icahn can continue to watch Chesapeake and make sure they are on the right path, not only for the company but for shareholder value as well. Chesapeake is a solid energy company with a lot of strategic holdings throughout the US and I think that is what primarily brought Icahn to Chesapeake. Management was hindering the company’s potential with a variety of missteps and overall bad energy conditions.
We can tell that Investors have not been with these decisions management has made because Chesapeake’s stock is up 15% since Icahn made board changes and now an upgrade today from Argus Research.
Interestingly enough, part of the stock’s jump this morning is the announcement that Chesapeake is in talks with Global Infrastructure Partners regarding pipeline sales that could total up to $4 billion in extra cash for Chesapeake. This is yet another Icahn-called move to help the energy firm cut costs and raise cash reserves.
The bottom line is that Icahn knows how to turn companies around. Chesapeake used to be a mess and still has some cleaning up to do but these are definitely steps in the right direction. In this weak energy environment, it is essential that Chesapeake cuts cost and gets to a more conservative ground. It will be interesting to see what Icahn’s next move will be to help Chesapeake regain its glory.