* Icahn acquires about 61 million shares
* Wants to talk with Talisman about restructuring, board
* Shares jump in after-hours trading
(Ads background on Talisman in final three paragraphs)
By Scott Haggett
CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 7 Talisman Energy Inc
shares surged in after-hours trading on Monday
after activist investor Carl Icahn said he had purchased about
61 million shares of the underperforming Canadian oil producer
and may seek a seat on the company's board.
Talisman's New York Stock Exchange-listed shares surged 10.9
percent in after-hours trading after Icahn revealed his holding
which gives him a stake of about 6 percent in the company. The
stock closed at $12.75 in New York on Monday.
Icahn, a 77-year old billionaire, said in a filing with the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that he intended to talk
with Talisman's management to discuss strategic alternatives for
the company, include asset sales or restructuring. He may also
seek a board seat, according to the filing.
The purchase, which makes him the company's second-largest
shareholder, is the latest in the energy sector for Icahn. He
was at the center of a 2012 boardroom coup at U.S. oil and gas
company Chesapeake Energy Corp that eventually led to
the ouster of its free-spending co-founder Aubrey McClendon.
The activist shareholder also successfully pressed for
management changes at the world's largest drilling contractor,
Transocean Ltd. In May, Transocean shareholders voted
out Chairman Michael Talbert and backed an Icahn nominee.
Icahn also recently made headlines for his failed attempt to
block Michael Dell's $25 billion bid to take Dell Inc
private as well as his efforts to prod Apple Inc Chief
Executive Tim Cook to buy back $150 billion of stock.
Talisman's stock has gained 2 percent over the past 12
months but much of the rise has come since the start of the
month, when rumors that an activist investor was buying began to
Talisman said that it takes the views of shareholders
seriously but did not say if it would enter into talks with
"We are committed to acting in the best interests of the
Company and give due consideration to constructive
recommendations for strategies or actions that have the
potential to increase shareholder value," Phoebe Buckland, a
spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement.
Talisman is already in the midst of a restructuring program
led by Chief Executive Hal Kvisle, a board member and former
head of TransCanada Corp.
The company, like other natural gas producers, is struggling
to cope with weak prices as surplus production from prolific
shale-gas fields floods the North American market. To cope, it
has reduced overhead and expenses, including cutting 7 percent
of its head office staff, and is focusing on producing
more-profitable oil and natural-gas liquids.
Since stepping into the role following the abrupt departure
of John Manzoni last year, Kvisle has put a host of assets on
the block, including the company's holdings in Norway's North
Sea, some Canadian shale-gas fields and its stake in Colombia's
(Additional reporting by Anna Driver in Houston and Michael
Erman in New York; Editing by Eric Walsh and Phil Berlowitz)