Riposte Capital Pushes for Board Overhaul at Energy Producer SilverBow

(Reuters) — One of SilverBow Resources Inc.'s largest investors is pushing the U.S. oil and gas producer to revamp its board to address governance concerns and boost its lagging performance, according to a letter reviewed by Reuters on Thursday.

Hedge fund Riposte Capital, which currently holds a 6.7% stake in SilverBow, has urged the company to appoint three new directors to its board, months after Reuters reported the investor's attempts to push the shale producer to drop anti-takeover defenses and explore a sale.

In its latest letter, Riposte urged the company to appoint new board members at the shareholder meeting due next year, having failed to act on its earlier demands and, instead, pursued a strategy that resulted in further underperformance against rivals.

SilverBow's shares closed at $31.81 on Wednesday, giving the company a market capitalization of about $800 million. Its shares have gained 12.5% this year, outperforming the 5% decline by the S&P Energy index, which is made up of the largest energy companies.

New York-based Riposte argues that, when compared with smaller peers, SilverBow has lagged on an earnings multiple basis this year and may do so again in 2024 based on latest forecasts.

Riposte, the fourth-largest shareholder in SilverBow and run by Khaled Beydoun, said the company's deal to acquire assets for $700 million from Chesapeake Energy had also diluted existing shareholders as it issued new stock to partially fund the deal.

The hedge fund's dissent at SilverBow is a rare example of shareholder activism from Riposte, which has only publicly voiced its displeasure at a company whose shares it owns on a couple of occasions in recent years.

SilverBow's board is comprised of nine members, most of whom are independent directors. Strategic Value Partners had previously held the right to nominate two directors but one of its nominees dropped off the board on Monday, after the investment firm sold part of its stake.

SilverBow operates on around 180,000 net acres in South Texas' Eagle Ford shale basin. The company's deal for Chesapeake's assets, which is due to close by the end of the year, will boost its operations by another 42,000 net acres.

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