By Tatyana Shumsky
NEW YORK--Not everyone welcomed Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.'s (FCX) announced move into oil and gas Wednesday.
"I find it incredibly disappointing that you have chosen to break the trust of investors," said Evy Hambro, joint chief investment officer of BlackRock Inc.'s (BLK) Natural Resources Equity Team, during a conference call with Freeport.
Freeport has agreed to buy energy companies McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR) and Plains Exploration & Production Co. (PXP) for about $9 billion.
Mr. Hambro, whose fund is one of Freeport's largest shareholders, told Freeport Chief Executive Richard Adkerson that "investors obviously have the freedom to diversify their own portfolios" and "don't need management teams to do it for them."
Traditional mining investors tend to view Freeport as a proxy for copper. Analysts at Dahlman Rose & Co. said Freeport's decision to purchase two oil-exploration companies is "likely be seen as a negative among mining-focused shareholders."
Mr. Hambro also expressed frustration that Freeport shareholders won't be allowed to vote on whether to approve the proposed transaction.
"I think it would be fair to give your shareholders the chance to vote rather than hide," Mr. Hambro said. "That would be a fair thing to have investors be involved in this, rather than just be told what to expect."
Earlier in the conference call, Freeport executives said the structure of the deal meant the transaction didn't require the approval of Freeport's shareholders.
-Write to Tatyana Shumsky at [email protected]
--Matt Day contributed to this article.
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