Fir Tree Raises Exposure To Noble Corp plc (NE)

Fir Tree, a fund managed by Jeffrey Tannenbaum, is bullish on Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE). In a new filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Fir Tree has disclosed boosting its position in Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE) to 24.51 million shares from 14.41 million shares the fund reported in its latest 13F filing. The stake amasses 9.6% of the company’s outstanding ordinary shares.

Jeffrey Tannenbaum

In the filing, Fir Tree states that it had “a productive meeting” with Gordon Hall, the designated lead director of the board, at the end of August 2014. During the meeting, the hedge fund acknowledged management’s recent excellent operational record.

Further, Fir Tree stated that it also discussed Noble Corp plc’s (NYSE:NE) dividend policy, share buybacks, the board composition and compensation, and other strategic alternatives, including the formation of a master limited partnership.

“[Fir Tree] intend to continue to discuss [all these] matters with the [Noble Corp plc’s (NYSE:NE)] management and the board, as well as other shareholders of [the company] and other interested persons, and may take other steps seeking to bring about changes to increase shareholder value,” the fund added.

Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE) is an offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry, with a market cap of $6.98 billion. Last month, the company said it completed the spin-off of all of the outstanding shares of Paragon Offshore PLC (NYSE:PGN). Currently, Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE) and Paragon Offshore PLC (NYSE:PGN) are operating as two separate, publicly-traded companies.

In June, we reported that Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE) is one of the top three energy stocks that insiders love. On June 6, David W. Williams, Chairman, President and CEO, acquired 10,000 shares for $31.03 per share.

For the second quarter of 2014, Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE) reported an increase in net income to $235 million, or $0.91 per diluted share, from $177 million, or $0.69 per diluted share, for the same period of 2013. Its revenues for the quarter rose to $1.2 billion from $1.0 billion in the same period last year.

In its recent 13F, Firefly Value Partners, led by Ryan Heslop and Ariel Warszawski, reported ownership of 1.93 million shares of Noble Corp plc (NYSE:NE). Over the second quarter, Two Sigma Advisors, run by John Overdeck and David Siegel, upped its stake in the company by over 10% to 1.40 million shares.

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