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Carl Icahn takes bigger slice of Chesapeake Energy

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NEW YORK (AP) — Activist investor Carl Icahn bumped up his stake in Chesapeake Energy, a company where he has already pushed for sweeping changes in governance.

Shares rose 1.6 percent Nov. 20 before the opening bell.

A regulatory filing shows Icahn now owns 8.98 percent, compared with a 7.6 percent stake in the Oklahoma City company he held this summer. Icahn first invested in Chesapeake Energy Corp. in May.

Chesapeake is one of the nation's largest natural gas producers. It has been reeling from a combination of historically low natural gas prices and questions from investors about its management.

Since Icahn first bought up shares, he's pushed for a slew of changes, including stripping CEO Aubrey McClendon of the chairmanship.

Investors revolted after a series of corporate governance issues surfaced. They were angered by reports that McClendon was accepting personal loans from a company that was doing business with Chesapeake.

Icahn also shook up the company board. In June, Chesapeake Energy Corp. appointed four new directors that were hand-picked by the company's largest investors.

The company lost more than half of its market value in the three months leading up to Icahn's initial investment, but shares have since increased by about 20 percent.

The stock took a downward again turn this month after the company reported a third-quarter loss on a 25 percent drop in revenue, partially as a result of lower natural gas prices and one-time charges. Chesapeake said it expects its natural gas production to decline 7 percent next year as it focuses on oil and gas liquids. It predicted liquids production would increase 29 percent in 2013.

The company has also announced plans to sell off vast portions of its land and infrastructure — something Icahn pushed for. It also is trying to pay off a heavy debt load incurred in recent years as it rushed to buy land and other assets.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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