Elliott Continues To Agitate For Change At Hess

Mar 8 2013 | 10:35am ET

Elliott Management continues its efforts to shake up Hess Corp, despite criticism from the oil giant's CEO.

In a recent letter to fellow shareholder David Batchelder of Relational Investors, John Hess said:

“We hope that you will urge Elliott to cease its attempt to liquidate the company and deprive shareholders of significant value. We also encourage you to urge Elliott to withdraw its inferior slate of candidates tethered to Elliott's flawed strategy.”

Elliott, in a response released Wednesday, said it was “disappointed by the letter and “surprised” the board would allow such a communication.

“Elliott has never suggested liquidating the company, and it is disappointing John Hess has resorted to scare tactics,” said the statement. “By underperforming peers by 460%, John Hess has been in the process of damaging the company through 17 years of poor management.”

Elliott also questioned the independence of Hess' nominees for the board of directors while arguing its own nominees were better qualified.

Elliott has bought up a 4% stake in Hess and has demanded broad changes at the company, starting with its board of directors. Elliott has nominated five candidates which it said would help focus a "distracted" company; the hedge fund said that Elliott's stock price could double if it makes the right moves.

Those moves should include the sale of Hess' retail operations and its share of North Dakota's Bakken Shale.

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