Occidental Offers Stake in Mideast Unit

Occidental Petroleum has reportedly begun trying to sell a minority stake in its Middle East unit for as much as $8 billion.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Chief Executive Officer Stephen Chazen (pictured) has held talks with sovereign wealth funds and possible strategic partners for a 40 percent stake in the Mideast business, whose value he pegs at $20 billion.

It cites two informed sources, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private, as saying that Chazen is handling the talks himself and isn’t working with bankers now.

No buyer has emerged and any deal may take several months.

Occidental has operations in countries including Oman, Qatar, Iraq and Libya. Fadel Gheit, an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg:

“It’s difficult to sell assets in six countries .. The whole area is almost radioactive.”

(Source: Bloomberg)

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