Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) has a new activist investor taking an interest in the company. A source cited by Reuters has revealed that Loeb’s Third Point LLC has listed Chessapeake as one of its top four long holdings for the month of June in a letter to investors. We will be obtaining the letter shortly.
Carl Icahn caused waves at Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) recently when he revealed that he had picked up a large chunk of the company, and would be looking to reform it in order to extract more value from shareholders. Loeb, another famed activist, may want to help reform, or might just want to come along for the ride. Icahn holds 7.5% of the company.
In an interview with CNBC yesterday, Icahn described the company as “very undervalued.” Despite the obvious interest Chesapeake has attracted from talented investors the company is still burdened under the weight of a massive debt obligation, and several enquiries into corporate governance.
Mason Hawkins, CEO of LongLeaf Partners, is another famous value investor who has purchased shares of the company.
The latest of those enquiries was announced yesterday. The Justice Department is investigating price fixing allegations against Chesapeake and Canada’s largest natural gas producer EnCana Corporation (TSE:ECA). That news was reported by Reuters and attributed to a source.
Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) is an interesting, and rewarding, idea for any investor, but may not be so rewarding as an investment. The controversy surrounding the company, along with the complexity of its financial dealings, and the intricacies of the natural gas industry, have made the company a wonderful topic of conversation.
Icahn and Loeb have obviously taken their appreciation for the company a step further and put money behind the firm’s business model. What that model is, it is difficult to tell. The firm has operated nominally as an oil and gas exploration company, but has taken in more money from odd and innovative financial deals than energy products.
In order to meet the obligations created in those covenants the company has had to sell off a large amount of assets. In a period beginning this year, and lasting until the end of 2013, the firm has plans to shed in the region of $20.5 billion in assets in order to keep cash flow healthy and pay down debt.
Something in the firm’s accounts has attracted Loeb and, as one of his four biggest holdings, he is expecting a large payoff. Those competing with Chesapeake at the top of Loeb’s list include shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and gold.
Whether Loeb is investing in Chesapeake as an activist set on precipitating change at the firm, or simply as an investor looking to score off of Icahn’s work is something we’ll have to wait and see. With the information in the public eye, it should be a matter of days before the maven gives some indication of his intentions.
Despite the announcement of an enquiry, Chesapeake shares have risen today. The stock stands at 19.36 at time of writing, up 3.36% in trading so far today. The firm is still far from its twelve month peak of 35.75, but with Loeb involved in investors might expect to see those days once again.