Transocean Purchases Cost Shareholders Billions, Icahn Says

Transocean Ltd.’s management “destroyed approximately $11 billion of shareholder value” by buying Global Santa Fe and Aker, billionaire investor Carl Icahn said.

The company’s current plan to pay down debt and invest in building new assets will destroy another $3.6 billion in shareholder value, Icahn wrote in a letter to shareholders today.

Icahn, who said he controls about 5.43 percent of Transocean, is urging fellow shareholders to support his proposal to increase the company’s dividend to $4 a share and elect three new board members. The Vernier, Switzerland-based offshore drilling company has proposed a $2.24 dividend and defended its 13 board members.

“It is evident that Icahn has failed to invest the appropriate time and analysis necessary to understand the cyclical and capital-intensive nature of the offshore drilling industry in general, and Transocean’s business in particular,” Brian Maddox, a Transocean spokesman who works for FTI Consulting, said in an e-mailed statement. “His focus is clearly on achieving potential short-term gains at the expense of the company’s future.”

Transocean fell 0.1 percent to $49.88 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 12 percent this year.