Icahn Capital, Berkshire Hathaway and the Battle Over Occidental  

November 18, 2019 | Headlines, Hedge Funds, Investments, News

Money managers release 13Fs for the third quarter. But a battle over Occidental still looms.

Icahn Capital and Berkshire Hathaway were among the asset managers to release 13Fs last week. While Warren Buffett boosted his stake over Occidental Petroleum, Carl Icahn faced a setback in his legal battle against the company.

Today, let’s take a look at the changes in both investors’ portfolios. We’ll also breakdown the latest over Carl Icahn’s quest to launch a proxy battle against Occidental board advisors.

Inside the Warren Buffett 13F

Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F revealed a few new stakes in the Buffett’s 13F Q3 filing. It also revealed a dip in stakes in four companies.

In the third quarter, Berkshire increased its stake in Occidental Petroleum. The firm purchased 7.4 million shares of Occidental for roughly $300 million. Buffett’s firm had previously secured warrants to purchase up to 80 million shares in OXY stock for $62.50 a share.

In addition, Buffett took a stake in Restoration Hardware Holdings. Berkshire purchased 1.2 million shares for roughly $220 million.

Berkshire reduced its stakes in Wells Fargo, Apple, Phillips 66, and Sirius XM Holdings. 

Inside the Icahn Capital 13-F

Carl Icahn, meanwhile, took out notable stakes in six companies. These stakes include HP, Cloudera, Hertz Global Holdings, and Conduent. He also boosted his shares in his own firm Icahn Enterprises.

Finally, he bought shares in Caesars prior to the company announcing its decision to sell to El Dorado.

Icahn cut his stakes in Cheniere Energy, Freeport-McMoRan, and Occidental Petroleum. That latter company is interesting given the fact that Icahn has been pushing for a proxy battle against the board of directors. His firm cut his Occidental stake by roughly 23 million shares. Icahn called the company’s decision to buy Anadarko “specifically reprehensible since management repeatedly pledged that it would not engage in risky M&A and would maintain a prudent balance sheet.”

Icahn Versus Occidental

Warren Buffett’s firm took a $10 billion stake in Occidental Petroleum and secured preferred shares with an 8% dividend. Berkshire was instrumental in helping Occidental make its $38 billion bid for Anadarko Petroleum earlier this year. Occidental – which has seen shares plunged by about 35% since the bid due to concerns about its debt levels.

Icahn has challenged the Buffett-backed Anadarko deal, calling it “one of the worst I’ve ever seen.” He has been in a court battle and pushing for company records around the deal. He wants to determine “whether the actions of the directors and management were just serious mistakes or whether they represented knowing intentional breaches of fiduciary duty” when executing that deal.

On Friday, a Delaware court judge said Icahn’s push for the records failed to show his it would assist his planned proxy fight against the firm. The news comes as Occidental plans to cut capital spending by about 40%. It plans to trim debt tied to the Anadarko deal.

Related: Carl Icahn Takes Stake in HP, Pushes for Xerox Merger

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