Corp Raider Pressures Marathon to Split Itself into 3 Companies

1017_1Not even a year go–in December of last year–one of the biggest and brightest stars in the midstream firmament for the Marcellus/Utica, MarkWest Energy, sold itself to Marathon Petroleum (see MarkWest Energy Investors/Unitholders Approve Merger with Marathon). We wondered at the wisdom of such a move, but who are we? What’s done is done. Ironically, an “activist investor” hedge fund (i.e. corporate raider) by the name of Elliott Management yesterday disclosed to the world that they have taken a 4% stake in Marathon. Corporate raiders target companies they can bully by buying enough shares to force those companies to fire people and sell assets. It “unlocks value for shareholders” you see–meaning it will boost the per share price of the raider’s stock so they can turn around and sell that stock and line their already-fat pockets. Disgusting. True to form, Elliott is targeting Marathon. They sent a letter to the Marathon board with the “suggestion” that the company split itself (after buying MarkWest less than a year ago) into three separate companies (retail, refining, midstream) in an effort to “unlock $14 – $19 billion for shareholders.” Unfortunately there are at least two other raiders lurking in the background with small stakes in Marathon who may join Elliott to pressure Marathon…

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