Warren Buffett’s bid to boost his big stake in Occidental Petroleum Corp. even further isn’t expected to serve as a prelude to a full takeover of the resurgent energy company by the widely watched billionaire, at least for now.
In a regulatory filing Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
had received permission to buy up to 50% of the driller’s shares. The news stoked speculation that Berkshire could be gearing up to acquire Occidental
Analysts have said Occidental’s oil business would complement Berkshire’s existing energy holdings, which include utilities, natural gas and renewables. Buffett has a warm relationship with Chief Executive Vicki Hollub and has publicly praised her efforts to turn the company around after its acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and her plans to pay down debt and increase dividend payouts.
But Buffett hasn’t informed Occidental of any plans to acquire a controlling stake in the company, according to people close to the matter. Given Buffett’s well-known aversion to hostile deal making, it would be out of character for him to make a bid without sounding out the company’s executives and directors first.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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