Activist investor Elliott Management has taken a position in Noble Energy, an energy explorer on the verge of selling itself to Chevron for $5 billion.
Elliott disclosed the new investment in a filing with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, though the size of the stake is unknown. The nature of the filing suggests that Elliott and Noble have held talks.
Elliott’s disclosure comes amid the planned sale of Noble, which in July agreed to be purchased by oil giant Chevron in an all-stock deal that valued Noble at roughly $13 billion, including debt. The $10.38 a share offer carried a 7.5% premium to Noble’s unaffected stock price.
The arrangement, the largest in the U.S. energy sector this year, came a year after Chevron was outmaneuvered by Occidental Petroleum in a race for Anadarko Petroleum, a transaction fiercely criticized by activist veteran Carl Icahn.
It is not clear whether Elliott wants to see the deal altered but Paul Singer’s fund has a history of pushing for changes at portfolio companies. Since the start of 2020, Elliott has called on Dutch insurer NN Group to overhaul its investment portfolio in a bid to boost the stock price and urged telecommunications infrastructure provider Crown Castle to reorganize its fiber business or seek a partner to manage it, among other campaigns.
However, considering the recent plunge in oil prices, Elliott may see more value in participating in the potential synergies of the combined business rather than seeking adjustments of the deal. Prices for West Texas Intermediate have lost 13% over the past week, taking year-to-date losses to 39%.
Shares in Noble fell 3% on Tuesday, closing at $9.4. The stock is down 62% since the start of the year.