Occidental Said to Near Deal With Icahn to End Boardroom Battle

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Activist investor Carl Icahn is nearing a truce with Occidental Petroleum Corp. that will see three new directors appointed to the oil company’s board, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal would also see the billionaire investor support the return of Occidental’s former Chief Executive Officer Stephen Chazen as chairman, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. A settlement has yet to be signed, and the talks could still fall apart or the terms change, they said.

The terms of the deal would see two Icahn associates, Andrew Langham and Nicholas Graziano, join the board. A third, mutually-agreed upon director would later be added, the people said. Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. board member Margarita Palau-Hernandez is someone who is being discussed for the third director, they said.

A representative for Icahn could not be reached for comment, while a representative for Occidental declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported the terms of the settlement.

A deal could be announced as soon as Monday, the people said. Icahn has been particularly critical of Occidental’s CEO Vicki Hollub throughout his proxy fight at the oil company. Hollub would remain on as CEO under the terms being discussed. But her future could still come under review by the board once it’s reconstituted, one of the people said.

Icahn raised his stake in Occidental to nearly 10% earlier this month, increasing pressure on the company to make changes after its stock fell more than 75% since the start of the year amid a rout in the oil sector and the broader markets.

Icahn has been critical of Hollub and Occidental over its $37 billion takeover of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and the $10 billion in pricey financing it took from Warren Buffett for the transaction. Earlier this month, Occidental cut its dividend and said it would scale back spending after oil prices collapsed.

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