Investing Commentary

ConocoPhillips Splits into 2 Companies – Who’s Next?

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ConocoPhillips has announced that the company will split it’s businesses, separating their upstream exploration/production division and their downstream refining division. The move makes their upstream business the largest independent e&p company in the world.

The decision comes on the heels of Marathon Oil, which made a similar split earlier this year.

Hopefully, this move will unlock some nice future gains for shareholders, since

“If you look at the integrated company, I think that downstream part was holding back on the value creation of the exploration and production business,” Chief Executive Jim Mulva said in a conference call this morning.

Even better, COP has announced that each company will pay a dividend(!) in addition to continuing share repurchases. I haven’t been able to find any information on what the split will entail in terms of stock to existing investors, but it is estimated to be completed in the first half of 2012.

Full Disclosure: I have no position in COP or MRO