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Phillips Vaults on Elliott Stake

Elliott Management has taken a $1 billion stake in Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) and is seeking as many as two board seats as the company underperforms its peers, according to a Wednesday letter from the activist investor.
Phillips 66′s stock rose nearly 6% in early trading Wednesday. The crude refining company has a market cap of nearly $52 billion.

Elliott’s push for the board seats comes as Phillips has underperformed its competitors Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) and Valero (NYSE:VLO). The activist investor said in the letter to Phillips’ board that the company’s performance has declined in recent years because it has shifted its focus away from its refining segment.

“Over the past three years, as Phillips 66 has fallen further and further behind, its stock has meaningfully underperformed these peers,” Elliott told the board.

The activist investor said Phillips’ operating expense per barrel has soared in recent years, “shaking investor confidence in the company’s ability to run its refining operations efficiently.”
Elliott said Phillips’ stock has a 75% upside from its last closing price of $118 if the company executes on CEO Mark Lashier’s goals.

Other news involving the company: Phillips 66 announce the launch of its GO GO GO™ branded fuels campaign that offers a variety of benefits for consumers, including discounts at the pump. The campaign aims to highlight the different ways that Phillips 66®, Conoco®, and 76® fuel consumers' GO beyond just their vehicles.

Early Wednesday, PSX sprang up $3.70, or 3.4%, to $121.70.