Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) and Elliott Management finally peace-out on a four month long proxy fight. Today just before the annual shareholder meeting, both parties agreed on a deal that allows three of the five Elliott nominees to the board of directors and in exchange Elliott will not contest the five board members that Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) nominates, Bloomberg reports.
Apparently somebody dumped their big stake in Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) as soon as the news of the deal broke, as shares fell as much as 4 percent . There are a string of hedge funds, including several big names, that bought Hess in the last quarter, so it could be any one of those who cashed in their profits. John Paulson, David Einhorn, David Tepper and Richard Perry all bought Hess in the last quarter.
So who won and who lost this battle? Elliott wanted five board seats, so it made a compromise here. Moreover Hess was accepting only two of Elliott nominated board members earlier, so both parties met halfway in a classic negotiation setting. John Pike, senior portfolio manager at Elliott, said in a statement, “We have seen encouraging changes that will benefit all shareholders including the replacement of nine out of 14 board members and significant value creation for stockholders.”
CEO, John. B. Hess said in a statement, “We are pleased to reach an agreement that we believe is in the best interests of Hess shareholders, and we welcome each of our new directors.”
Elliott, the second largest stakeholder in the oil and gas explorer, has been pushing for changes at Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES). Elliott alleged that the board members were incompetent, inexperienced and lacked independence. The hedge fund said that Hess has failed to compete with its peers due to lack of discipline in the management. Elliott was campaigning for a spin off of non-core operations, so Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) will be selling out its refining business and will also spin off the chain of filling stations to focus more on exploration.
Other changes to the Hess board will be a separation of the roles of Chairman and CEO, both of which are currently held by John Hess.