Marathon Petroleum shares surged Wednesday, following comments from activist investors at Elliott Management that the group should be split into three separate companies.
The independent oil refining company’s 2.5% stake is held by Elliott. Elliot has suggested that Marathon should initiate a separation into three independent entities, in order to unlock more than $22 billion in value for shareholders. Elliot also believes that the separation would boost the company's stock price by more than 60%.
Elliott’s letter asked Marathon to separate its Speedway gas-station chain and its pipeline business into their own companies, while making Marathon’s refining business as the new Marathon.
Marathon agreed to a $23 billion deal last year to acquire rival Andeavor. But Elliot does not approve of the purchase since it believes that Marathon sought another integrated oil refining company at a time when it promised to consider simplifying its business structure.
Back in 2016, when Elliott had first targeted Marathon, the former had insisted on a similar breakup of the company. Eventually it settled on a promise from Marathon to simplify its midstream business and review its Speedway chain of company-owned retail gasoline stores.