The Energy Report: Let's start with a recent takeover deal that's been getting a lot of criticism in recent weeks. Freeport-McMoRan Copper Gold Inc. (FCX:NYSE) made a $9 billion takeover offer for the oil and gas explorer McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR:NYSE) and Houston-based Plains Exploration Production (PXP:NYSE). Are you happy with this deal?
Byron King: It came as a surprise. I've held McMoRan Exploration in Energy Scarcity for about two years. I like what McMoRan is working to do with deep gas in the Gulf of Mexico. Still, I recommended that readers take their money off the table with this deal. Sell the shares, take the cash and we'll find other opportunities.
McMoRan Exploration nearly doubled after the Freeport announcement, going from $8 to $15 per share. You can't walk away from that kind of potential gain. Take your money, pay your taxes at the lower 2012 rates and do something else with the money next year.
There's another angle to this takeover. Freeport and Plains together already own about 36% of McMoRan. There are a lot of ties here, between key individuals. I think this deal was driven by the impending tax changes next year. Freeport, the copper play, is borrowing a lot of money to fund this whole process. Fortunately, interest rates are very low, so it's borrowing cheap to do a big takeover, which will give a lot of people a really sweet payday, and they'll get to pay capital gains taxes at much lower rates this year than if they wait until January 2013.
TER: James "Jim Bob" Moffett, who founded McMoRan, is also paying himself. He was a significant shareholder in McMoRan Exploration. He's taking from his left pocket to put it in his right pocket. Continue reading "Byron King's Shocking 2013 Predictions"