Third Point gets US approval for Murphy Oil stock buy

WASHINGTON Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:24am EDT

WASHINGTON Oct 11 (Reuters) - Activist investor fund Third Point has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy an unspecified stake in Murphy Oil Corp, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday.

Shares in the company rose more than 4 percent on Oct. 3 after hedge fund manager and veteran corporate agitator Daniel Loeb told investors in his Third Point fund that shares of the oil and gas company could be 60 percent higher.

He has urged Murphy Oil to take steps like selling fuel stations and other downstream operations.

Third Point said it recently applied for antitrust approval with an eye to potentially increasing its position if its talks with the board did not bear fruit.

Antitrust approval was granted, according to a listing of approved transactions that the FTC posts on its website several times a week. The approvals can come from either the FTC or Justice Department, which split the job of enforcing antitrust law.

Murphy is one of the $9.3 billion fund's five largest positions, a September fact sheet reviewed by Reuters showed.

The fund also recently engaged in an activist battle with Yahoo Inc, and eventually secured board seats.

Third Point declined comment while Murphy Oil could not immediately be reached for comment. Murphy shares were up 2.7 percent to $58.63 in morning New York Stock Exchange trading.