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Actionable news in MUR: MURPHY OIL Corp,

Billionaire's Selling Creates Opportunity In Murphy Oil

Mason Hawkins' firm Southeastern Asset Management was the largest shareholder of Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR) with about 20 million shares earlier this year. The current price of crude oil is at multi year lows and so is the price of Murphy Oil. So the obvious question is: "Why is Mr. Hawkins giving up on Murphy Oil now?"

Hawkins' website states that "Since 1975, Southeastern Asset Management's investment philosophy has been to consistently employ our time-tested value approach to long-only equity investing based on owning strong businesses with good people at deeply discounted prices. We seek to reduce risk and deliver positive absolute returns for our investors over time". This was obviously what they were thinking when they were in the process of accumulating the massive share position. So is it possible to figure out the reason for the abrupt exit?

My feeling is that there are a few major possibilities. Mr. Hawkins fears long term and sustainable low prices in fossil fuels. The second possibility is that he tried to force the company into a value maximizing strategy similar to his plans with Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) and failed. Then again, the reason for selling could simply be that Mr. Hawkins has surpassed his pain threshold for the stock. Losing hundreds of...