Will Investor Pressure Force Some Drillers to Split Company?

Are we about to see large oil and gas companies begin to split U.S. and foreign operations? An interesting theory is put forth in an article on the Investors Business Daily website that a plan by Occidental Petroleum to split its U.S. and foreign businesses may lead to other oil companies doing the same. Why? Investors want to drive up the per-share price of the companies, and by shedding more risky, less profitable international operations, they may be able to do it.

What caught MDN’s eye about the article is that the author uses Cabot Oil & Gas as an example of how a small domestic David-type company’s stock price can run rings around a much larger Goliath-type. MDN pointed this out in early March when we noted that Cabot’s market capitalization soared past Chesapeake Energy, a company at least 10 times the size of Cabot (see Guest Post: Corporate Hubris Humbles Chesapeake – Cabot Soars Sure & Steady). Also of interest is that the article names several large multi-nationals with drilling operations in the Marcellus/Utica (ConocoPhillips, Anadarko Petroleum and Talisman Energy) as being pressured to consider splitting their companies…

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