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Energen Corporation (EGN): Activist Takes Large Stake, Pushes For Sale

Prominent activist investor Keith Meister of Corvex Capital has taken a 5.5% stake in Energen Corporation (NYSE:EGN) and appears poised to try and push the company to sell itself. The stake and the investor’s intentions were revealed this morning in a 13D filing released by the SEC (the filing’s date of event, in this case the point at which a 5% stake had been amassed, was May 22). Energen’s shares have gained 2% today.

Meister was one of several major names to take a stake in the company in the first-quarter of this year, snatching up 1.35 million shares, which has since been increased to 5.37 million shares. The majority of the shares purchased in the second-quarter underlie call options which expire on May 31 of next year. Paul Singer and George Soros were among the other new shareholders of the stock in the first-quarter, though Soros’ position was a relatively small one (65,200 shares). Dmitry Balyasny also hiked his fund’s position in the stock by nearly 10,000% during the first-quarter, to 725,049 shares. Energen Corporation (NYSE:EGN) shares, which Meister declared to be “undervalued” in the 13D filing, slumped by 19% between the end of last November and the middle of March.

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Keith Meister, Corvex Capital

The 13D filing also revealed that Meister’s fund has already engaged in discussions with Energen Corporation (NYSE:EGN)’s management, expressing to them that they have some of the “most attractive leaseholds for oil and gas development in the Permian Basin”. However, the fund also exclaimed that the company’s operational performance has been lacking in comparison to its peers and that now may be the time to consider a change of control given the premium which Permian Basin assets have been selling for recently in comparison to Energen’s own implied value.

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