Billionaire activist investors Carl Icahn is said to have sold his remaining stake in oil producer Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) after having owned it for almost three years.
Icahn, who had been trimming his once 10% stake in the company in recent says, sold the last of it, according to a WSJ report, which cited a letter he said to the board on Sunday. Icahn’s two remaining representatives on the OXY board are also stepping down.
The news comes after Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B) disclosed on Friday that he had accumulated a $5B stake in Occidental (OXY). Berkshire Hathaway owns 91M shares, or about a 10% stake in Occidental Petroleum (OXY), according to the latest filings from Friday.
Icahn originally took a stake in Occidental Petroleum (OXY) in the spring of 2019 after the company agreed to a $38B purchase of Anadarko, strongly criticizing the deal and OXY CEO Vicki Hollub. In late May of 2019, he sued OXY and he was critical of the OXY preferred shares that Berkshire Hathaway received for providing $10B in financing for the Anadarko deal.
Icahn also threatened a proxy fight with oil giant, though he later reached an agreement in March 2020 to add three new Icahn designated directors to the company’s board. Occidental (OXY) also appointed former CEO Stephen Chazen as chairman as an attempt to mollify the activist investor. Icahn disclosed last March that he planned to cut his $3B stake by a third.
“While we certainly had our disagreements with Vicki Hollub concerning M&A, we thank her for using her well-honed operating skills and resiliency so well in Occidental’s darkest hours,” Icahn wrote in the letter to the board, according to the WSJ. “We believe our relationship with Occidental turned out to be activism at its best.”
Occidental Petroleum (OXY) shares soared this week, skyrocketing 45%, including an 18% percent jump on Friday, as crude oil rose to $115 a barrel amid the Russian invasion into Ukraine.
Icahn is said to have made about $1B on his investment in OXY and has unrealized net profit of about $500M on OXY warrant he owns, according to the WSJ report, which cited people familiar. He still owns more than 15M OXY warrants.
JPMorgan earlier this week said that crude could hit $185 if the Russian self sanctioning continues and Bloomberg reported on Friday that Biden administration is considering a ban on U.S. imports of Russian crude oil.