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Mario Gabelli Urges National Fuel Gas to Split Itself Up


Activist investor Mario Gabelli, who owns a 9.1% stake in National Fuel Gas, and is the company’s largest single shareholder, is urging the company to split itself up into a pipeline and oil and gas drilling company  with the utility business in a separate segment.  He believes that investors who want a utility stock with a significant yield (the company’s dividend is 2%) are looking for something different than investors who have more appetite for risk, and who want to buy pipeline or drilling stocks.

Gabelli suggested the spinoff in April, and the next opportunity for shareholders to vote on the move will likely be February or March of next year. Given Gabelli’s large stake in the company, his proposal has significant weight, although CEO Ronald Tanksi said keeping the companies under one roof has certain advantages, since there are synergies between them that are working well.

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