Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pickens Sells Chesapeake But Says Don't Bet Against Aubrey

Pickens’s sale of almost half a million Chesapeake shares in the past six weeks comes as the 83-year-old hedge-fund manager maintains his longstanding praise for Chesapeake’s “visionary” chief executive officer, Aubrey McClendon. The decision to unload his stake marks the first time Pickens hasn’t held shares in the company since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Both men, born in Oklahoma, have been vocal proponents of gas, joining forces to push for legislation to increase the fuel’s use and often entwining their business interests. Chesapeake last year agreed to invest $150 million in a Pickens company that builds natural-gas fueling stations.

“We got out of the natural-gas stocks and Chesapeake was one of them,” Pickens said on CNBC yesterday. Even after selling the shares, Pickens said people shouldn’t bet against McClendon despite potential conflicts of interest that have caused shares to plunge and triggered Internal Revenue Service and Securities & Exchange Commission probes.

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