Anadarko shareholders to vote on Occidental merger in early August

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Shareholders of The Woodlands-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. will decide Aug. 8 whether to approve the company’s acquisition agreement with Occidental Petroleum Corp. announced earlier this year.

The investor vote is open to all shareholders of Anadarko stock as of July 11 and will take place in The Westin at The Woodlands, one block from Anadarko’s headquarters on Lake Robbins Drive.

Al Walker, Anadarko chief executive officer and board of directors chairman, said the merger agreement with Occidental is “advisable, fair to and in the best interests of Anadarko and the Anadarko stockholders” in a July 11 notice about the stockholder meeting. Anadarko’s board has already approved the merger and recommended its investors adopt the agreement.

If approved by a majority of Anadarko’s shareholders in August, the acquisition deal is expected to close by the end of 2019.

Months after Chevron Corp. made an initial offer for Anadarko that was eventually topped by Occidental in May, the future of Anadarko’s assets in The Woodlands remains in question. Anadarko is the region’s largest private employer, and the company occupies around 8% of The Woodlands area’s total office space between the 30-story Allison and Hackett towers in The Woodlands Town Center.

As the acquisition process moved forward this year, members of The Woodlands community pitched Occidental on maintaining a presence in the area following the merger. Gil Staley, The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership’s chief executive officer, said a recent meeting between business leaders and elected officials from The Woodlands area and Occidental Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub encouraged local representatives about the energy company’s plans in The Woodlands.

“We are optimistic that the Anadarko campus will remain intact,” Staley said. “Understandably, [Hollub] pointed out that they need that workforce. She was bragging, if you will, on the quality workforce that Anadarko has and that they’ll need that workforce to help achieve their goals. … We do look at this as an opportunity to keep those jobs here and perhaps even grow those jobs here.”

Houston-based Occidental in June delayed its relocation to a new headquarters facility due to the ongoing acquisition process but has not officially said whether it plans to occupy Anadarko’s 1.37 million-square-foot headquarters in The Woodlands or retain the more than 3,600 employees now working there.

Staley said he does not expect any major announcements from Occidental until the acquisition is finalized. Until then, he said the EDP and local figures will continue to follow the deal’s progress.

“We operate as if they’re here and will continue to be here until we hear otherwise, and again going back to how optimistic we are that that will actually happen,” he said. “To have something hanging over us that could impact the entire area is a concern with not only the Economic Development Partnership but with citizens, obviously with the employees at Anadarko and everyone that benefits from their presence. That’s the No. 1 topic right now in our community.”

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