As we explained in our Third Quarter Letter, Third Point initiated a significant stake in Murphy following a 3-year period in which Murphy’s share price declined by ~15% while the SPDR S&P Oil and Gas E&P Index appreciated by ~49%. Our thesis was that the company had many routes to unlock latent, meaningful value, among them – and most significantly – a highly accretive spin-off of its retail business.
Two weeks after our letter, Murphy’s management announced a series of shareholder-friendly initiatives that have been met with market enthusiasm. In addition to announcing a separation of the retail business via a tax-free spin, management unveiled a $1 billion share repurchase program and a $2.50 per share special dividend. While we applaud these first steps, we expect the company to announce further moves to address its still-depressed valuation, including sales of its Montney asset and 5% stake in Syncrude. Natural gas acquisition activity in Western Canada has continued vigorously since we called for the sale of the Tupper asset, and recent deals in the space have confirmed our valuation expectations.
From Daniel Loeb's Third Point fourth quarter investor letter.