Alex Cameron, Oklahoma Impact Team
OKLAHOMA CITY -- New York City corporate raider Carl Icahn is already cashing in on his investment in an Oklahoma oil and gas company. Last month the Oklahoma Impact Team reported Icahn raised eyebrows on Wall Street in December when he increased his stake in Chesapeake Energy to almost 6 percent-- 38 million shares.
Some analysts questioned Icahn's intentions, thinking he may try to force changes in company management, but Chesapeake Chairman Aubrey McClendon said he was never concerned and thought Icahn was smart to buy when the stock price was low.
"Carl is an activist shareholder, which means he has opinions and he expresses them. And, I think, for us, I've just been very active back to him in saying, 'This is our plan. You've invested a billion dollars with us. You have the right to know our plan. We hope you like our plan.' And so far so good. He's made quite a bit of money on it," McClendon said. "I told him I thought that made him either good or smart or lucky, and he told me he was all three."
McClendon's 'plan' was to involve balancing Chesapeake's production portfolio-- more oil, less natural gas-- and reducing the company's long-term debt.
The market seemed to like Chesapeake's strategy shift. The stock was up almost 50 percent over the last three months.
Icahn sold close to a third of his shares last week, for an estimated profit of $150 million.
Icahn still owns 27 million shares of Chesapeake stock, making him the company's third largest shareholder. McClendon owns just below 3 million shares.