Occidental Petroleum plans to close Anadarko deal soon after August 8 vote

Occidental Petroleum Corp plans to quickly complete its $38 billion purchase of Anadarko Petroleum after the latter’s Aug. 8 shareholder vote, the company said on Thursday.

The earlier-than-expected closing will give the company a head start to evaluate assets that it plans to sell to pay off debt supporting the acquisition, Occidental Chief Executive Vicki Hollub said on a conference call following release of the company’s second-quarter results.

Occidental is battling activist investor Carl Icahn, who opposed the deal and launched a proxy fight to remove and replace four Occidental directors over what he called the “misguided” acquisition. That contest is expected to drag on into the fall.

Anadarko shareholders are expected next week to approve a deal that provides a 57% premium to its share price the day before it disclosed acquisition talks.

Hollub said the company would not make a decision on the fate of Anadarko’s stake in Western Midstream Partners until after the closing. She has pledged to raise between $10 billion and $15 billion by the end of 2021 from asset sales to help pay for the deal.

“We’ve got a lot of incoming calls about various things,” the CEO said of rivals’ interest in Anadarko assets. She declined to say what properties would be offered.

It has struck an agreement with Total to acquire Anadarko’s Africa assets for $10 billion.

Occidental this week hedged about 40% of its combined oil production into 2020 to assure shareholders it could make its dividend payments while paying off increased debt from the deal, finance chief Cedric Burgher said.

“The hedges will strengthen our cash flow from operations and provide assurance our dividend is safe,” he said.