U.S. Markets

Corvex's Meister likes Diamondback Energy after it bought Energen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Corvex Management manager Keith Meister on Tuesday named Diamondback Energy Inc. one of the hedge fund’s top investment picks after the energy company bought a rival last year.

FILE PHOTO: Keith Meister, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Corvex Management, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

“We think there is lots of value,” Meister said at the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Summit. He said he expects Diamondback’s management team will do all the right things to boost returns.

Chevron’s planned acquisition of Anadarko announced last week marked a turning point for oil and gas exploration and production companies, Meister said.

“I would not have pitched this idea one week ago,” he said, adding that the pace of takeovers is likely not over yet.

“I think there is going to be a lot of activity” in the sector, he said.

Diamondback acquired rival Energen, another Corvex activism target, in a $9.2 billion deal last year. Meister said Diamondback has still been underperforming, however.

When Meister spoke about Energen last year, he said that investors need to be patient and noted that by waiting until Diamondback made its move, “the size of the prize went up.”

Investors have not paid enough attention to the energy and production sector, Meister said.

“No one owns energy stocks, but if you do own them, you have to be in one place, the Permian basin,” he said, referring to the oil-rich region in West Texas where Diamondback has operations.

Diamondback and rivals Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Concho Resources will likely not be independent companies three to five years from now, he said.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sonya Hepinstall