The activist investor has taken a big slug of the company’s shares.
HALIFAX – It must have been an interesting exercise for a billionaire that has made a name as an activist shareholder to tackle the mining industry now. To make a list of mining targets in a decimated market with resources meaningful enough to raise the spectre of a serious shake-up at one of the world’s largest mining companies.
It’s fair to simply step back and chuckle for a moment. For a whole lot of miners are so creamed, so loss-making for so many, that an activist raider surveying the field of options must be like the bear that stumbles into a honey factory after a hurricane.
Where to start? Who can I lean on? Which shareholders will treat me sweetest? Would Barrick have been on that list? Teck? Anglo American?
Yee Gads. You wonder if some mining heads might have muttered under their breath Thursday afternoon, Thanks be to Freeport. Icahn leaves us alone.
For ultimately Icahn chose Freeport to assemble an eight-percent-plus shareholding, promising in an SEC-filing-sort-of-way to rattle Freeport management and directors.
It happened on an interesting day for Freeport. Its shares popped 30%. It announced a significant cost reduction strategy and the spot price of copper flicked back over $2.30/lb. Connected? Maybe.
Of course, there’s little official to know about what Icahn wants, or how Freeport will respond to Icahn as a shareholder, assuming, given his history, he tries to force change.
I left a message at Icahn Enterprises to seek his view of Freeport. I also asked a Freeport spokesperson how it would respond to Icahn. I haven’t heard back this evening.
But one possibility is a break-up. John Tumazos, over at John Tumazos Very Independent Research, sees it that way.
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