Chesapeake shares slide to lowest in three years

Investors wiped out more than $1.8 billion in value as the natural gas producer dealt with new revelations about CEO Aubrey McClendon and first-quarter earnings news.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: May 2, 2012
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Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. fell to their lowest point in three years after a lackluster earnings report and new revelations about CEO Aubrey McClendon.

On the New York Stock Exchange, shares fell to $16.74, a drop of more than 14 percent. The company was the most actively traded stock Wednesday, with more than 145.3 million shares changing hands. It also posted the second-largest decline among companies on the exchange.

Investors wiped out more than $1.8 billion in value from Chesapeake's stock on Wednesday.

In a special report, Reuters said McClendon and former Chesapeake co-founder Tom Ward, now CEO of Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy Inc., ran a hedge fund from 2004 to at least 2008. The hedge fund was active in natural gas trades at the same time Chesapeake was trading in the market. The revelations drew criticisms from several corporate governance experts, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Chesapeake's largest investor said it will become more active in expanding shareholder value. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Memphis, Tenn.-based Southeastern Asset Management said it would switch its role from a passive to an active investor. The firm owns more than 13 percent of Chesapeake's outstanding shares.

“Southeastern intends to discuss with management, the board, as well as various third parties opportunities to maximize the value of the company for all shareholders,” the investment firm said in the filing.


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