UPDATE 2-Freeport shares soar as Icahn execs gain seats on miner's board

Wed Oct 7, 2015 3:01pm EDT
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(Recasts with Icahn statement, research analyst comments, details from SEC filing, updates stock price)

By Susan Taylor

Oct 7 (Reuters) - U.S. miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc said on Wednesday it will add two new directors to its board under an agreement with billionaire Carl Icahn, bowing to pressure from the activist investor, who is the company's largest shareholder.

Freeport shares jumped as much as 13.6 percent after it said it added Icahn lieutenants Andrew Langham and Courtney Mather to the board, which now has nine independent and two executive directors.

The appointments come one day after the company said it would consider separating its oil and gas business from its mining operations and that it was cutting its board size.

Icahn, who owned 8.8 percent of Freeport as of Sept. 22, commended the board for adopting a number of his recommendations in a statement on Wednesday.

He said shareholders "will benefit from our agreement, which restricts the ability of the company to implement a poison pill and permits our representatives to resign from the board at any time and be free of any restrictions." (here)

In August, Icahn took aim at Freeport's spending, capital structure and executive compensation.

Morningstar analyst Dan Rohr said stock gains partly reflected the poison pill removal, which could clear the way for an acquirer, though that was unlikely in the near term, given weak commodity prices and market sentiment.   Continued...