Hess, Elliott reach deal, end fight

Hess, Elliott Management reach a deal to end proxy fight, install new board members

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hess has reached a deal with a major investor to end a bitter fight over the management and direction of the oil and gas company.

The investor, Elliott Management, a hedge fund based in New York that holds 4.5 percent of Hess shares, accused CEO and Chairman John Hess of badly mismanaging the company's assets and consistently making poor strategic decisions. It highlighted the personal ties of Hess board members to the Hess family, and accused the board of lax oversight of the company.

Hess has recently adopted some of Elliott's strategic recommendations. Last week it agreed to split the roles of chairman and CEO. The company is also selling off underperforming assets and shrinking its geographic footprint, although Hess says those moves were already in the works.

Hess had accused Elliott of trying to disrupt progress it has already made in reshaping itself.

The two sides reached their deal Thursday just before the company's annual meeting began in Houston.

As part of the deal, Elliott has withdrawn a slate of five director nominees, and instead will support a group of five new nominees put forth by Hess along with three of Elliott's candidates. The board's size will remain at 14 members.

John Pike, Senior Portfolio Manager at Elliott Management, said in a statement, "We are pleased to welcome a highly-qualified and refreshed board at Hess."

Hess shares fell $1.49, or 2.1 percent, to $69.11 in morning trading.


Business Writer Michelle Chapman contributed to this report.

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