The Strategist

Pioneer shareholder suspects the company of withholding information its buyer Exxon

02/12/2024 - 02:20

According to Bloomberg Law, the Operating Engineers Construction Industry and Miscellaneous Pension Fund sued Pioneer Natural Resources Co., a producer of oil and gas in the United States, in Delaware Chancery Court to obtain its internal documents so that they could evaluate the management's actions during the company's merger with ExxonMobil.

Thomas Hawk
Thomas Hawk
The fund, which owns a portion of Pioneer, is concerned that Scott Sheffield, the company's previous CEO and current head of operations, and Richard Dealy, the former, withheld information from investors about Exxon's impending $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion write-down on the value of the company's assets, making the merger deal less advantageous for Pioneer shareholders.

The fund says that when Exxon revealed the write-down in January 2024, its stock price fell by 5.5% and its capitalization dropped by $20 billion.

In October 2023, the $59.5 billion merger deal—which includes an equity settlement—was made public.

The fund believes that because Dealy and Sheffield were involved in the negotiations with Exxon, they were likely aware of the upcoming write-down. The lawsuit claims that at the same time, they "got everything they wanted." The fund claims that Dealy received $15 million and Sheffield received around $29 million.

Bloomberg Law points out that these cases are frequently brought in order to get ready for more legal action, but the fund is not accusing Pioneer of breaking any laws yet.