QEP Resources’ Independent Director Appointment Gets Nod From JANA

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QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP) reached an agreement with JANA Partners to vote in favor of the independent director at the upcoming 2014 Annual Meeting.

William L. Thacker, the nominee director, will resign from the QEP board upon completion of the separation of its mainstream business, QEP Field Services Company.

JANA’s enhanced stake in QEP Resources

Jana Partners initially invested in the shares of QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP) in 2012 due to the belief that the stock was undervalued and was an attractive investment opportunity. Since then, Jana Partners has engaged in discussions with the management of the oil and natural gas producer to boost shareholder value particularly from its midstream business (QEPFS).

In its statement issued Monday, QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP) Inc announced the appointment of William L. Thacker to its board of directors, to assist the company’s previously announced separation of its midstream business, QEP Field Services Company, including the QEP’s ownership of QEP Midstream Partners LP from QEP.

Jana’s regulatory filing last year revealed, the activist hedge fund acquired more shares of QEP Resources Inc, bringing its stake in the oil and natural gas producers to 7.5%.

In its statement, QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP) highlighted Mr. Thacker’s significant midstream energy expertise, including serving as non-executive chairman of the board of Copano Energy, L.L.C. (NASDAQ:CPNO) and as chief executive officer of TEPPCO Partners, overseeing the company’s steady expansion and entrance into crude oil gathering and marketing, petrochemical pipelining and gas gathering and processing.

Jana sought hiring additional directors in QEP Resources

As reported earlier, in a letter sent to the board of the oil and natural gas producer, Barry Rosenstein, founder and managing partner of Jana Partners wrote: “We have attempted to work constructively to help refine the company’s strategic direction and to address the company’s consistent share price underperformance.” He added that the leadership of the company chose not to pursue any of the suggested strategies or opportunities for its midstream business to boost its value creation, and “offered no convincing reasons for its refusal to do so.”

The activist hedge fund indicated its intention to engage in further discussions with the board of directors of QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP) regarding certain issues such as hiring additional directors and executives with proven experience in midstream operations to develop growth strategy, and align management incentive with midstream success.

Recently, in its December 2013 fourth-quarter update, Jana partners highlighted the reasons behind the hedge fund’s enhanced stake in QEP as QEP’s market capitalization fell $720 million after the company announced a $950 million acquisition of about 26,500 net acres in the Permian basin. The activist hedge fund expressed its dismay at the acquisition at a lofty price.

In its statement issued Monday, Jana Partners LLC indicated that the hedge fund has been working collaboratively with the QEP Board and management team to deliver value to QEP shareholders. The activist hedge fund indicated that adding Bill’s depth of experience will be very helpful in maximizing shareholder value as QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP) continues to execute the completion of its previously announced separation of its midstream business, QEP Field Services from QEP, including determining the use of the proceeds, if any from the separation.

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About the Author

Mani is a Senior Financial Consultant. He has worked in Senior Management role in large banking, financial and information technology organizations. He has provided solutions for major banking and securities firms across the globe in the area of retail, corporate and investment banking. He holds MBA (Finance) and Professional Management Accounting Qualifications. His hobbies are tracking global financial developments and watching sports

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