Occidental urges shareholders to reject activist Icahn's proposal

FILE PHOTO: Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto show in New York, U.S. on February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - Occidental Petroleum Corp OXY.N on Tuesday called on its shareholders to reject activist investor Carl Icahn's moves to launch a proxy fight for four seats on the company's board.

The oil and gas producer, in a regulatory filing, said fixing a record date for the planned consent solicitation and the proposals of the Icahn Group “are not in the best interests of Occidental or its stockholders”.

Last week, Icahn said he planned to oust and replace four Occidental directors and change the company's charter to prevent it from ever engineering a takeover, like its $38 billion bid for Anadarko Petroleum APC.N.

Icahn is calling on the board to set a record date to determine which shareholders could petition to hold a special meeting.

Icahn, one of industry’s most powerful activist investors, cast himself as one of the deal’s most fervent critics by charging that Occidental’s bid for Anadarko was too expensive and could endanger Occidental’s future if oil prices sink.

Icahn, who owns a $1.6 billion stake in Occidental as of May 30, had sued Occidental in a Delaware court.

According to last week’s filing, he said Occidental lacks effective corporate governance and that its directors made mistakes in how and at what cost they pursued the acquisition of Anadarko.

Icahn was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber