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SandRidge President James D. Bennett tells employees settlement aimed to end distractions

SandRidge Energy Inc. this week ended its four-month fight with shareholder TPG-Axon in a settlement in which the Oklahoma City energy company agreed to many of the New York shareholder's demands.
BY ADAM WILMOTH Published: March 17, 2013
/articleid/3766666/1/pictures/1982903">Photo - The inside of the SandRidge Energy’s headquarters is shown in Oklahoma City. Oklahoman Archives Photo
The inside of the SandRidge Energy’s headquarters is shown in Oklahoma City. Oklahoman Archives Photo

Even if SandRidge were taken over, most of its workforce likely would stay in state, Hanson said.

“SandRidge has a valuable asset in northern Oklahoma. I think you're going to see development continue on the areas that SandRidge is currently working on,” Hanson said.

Most of the corporate jobs in Oklahoma also likely would still be needed, he said.

“Anywhere you have an acreage position that size with 1.8 million net acres, you're going to have a regional office,” he said. “In my experience, that's typically how it plays out. A lot of companies have regional offices. Apache has a Permian office. Range Resources has a Marcellus Shale office.”

The expanded board will conduct a review to determine whether to fire CEO Tom Ward. If Ward is retained, three current SandRidge directors will resign and one more TPG-Axon nominee will be added to the board, giving TPG-Axon majority control of the board.

Bennett, who is also SandRidge's chief financial officer, became the company's president on Friday, succeeding Matthew Grubb, who left the company as part of the settlement agreement with TPG-Axon.

Bennett insisted Wednesday that TPG-Axon's director nominees do not control the board.

“TPG Axon is not on the board. That's a little bit of a source of confusion,” he said. “Some people think that they now control the company. That couldn't be farther from the truth. The board controls the direction of the company under the guidance of management. So these four folks, they just went and recruited. They had a headhunter go call a bunch of people, we know a lot of people they called, and they found these folks and they picked them. So it's not like these are their designees that sit on the board and run the company now.”

Bennett later restated his assertion about TPG-Axon's influence.

“Again, they're not going to be on the board. They don't have a direct say. They don't have control. They're just like any other shareholder. We have many shareholders that own between 5 and 7 percent of the company like they do. We talk to them. We have dialogue,” he said.

While Bennett said the new directors are not controlled by TPG-Axon, he said that if the shareholder in June replaces three existing directors with one of its choosing, it would control the board.

CONTRIBUTING: Paul Monies and Jay F. Marks, business writers

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