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Carl Icahn takes bigger slice of Chesapeake Energy

Carl Icahn, the activist investor, has been pushing for change at Chesapeake.

Associated Press/File 2010

Carl Icahn, the activist investor, has been pushing for change at Chesapeake.

NEW YORK — Activist investor Carl Icahn bumped up his stake in Chesapeake Energy Corp., a company he has pushed to make sweeping changes in governance.

Icahn now owns 8.98 percent, compared with the 7.6 percent stake in the Oklahoma City company he held this summer. Icahn first invested in Chesapeake in May.

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Chesapeake is one of the nation’s largest natural gas producers. It has been reeling from a combination of historically low natural gas prices and questions from investors about its management.

Since Icahn first bought shares, he has pushed for a slew of changes, including stripping chief executive ­Aubrey McClendon of the chairmanship.

Investors revolted after a series of governance issues surfaced. They were angered by reports McClendon was accepting personal loans from a company that was doing business with Chesapeake.

Icahn also shook up the company board. In June, Chesapeake appointed four directors that were hand-picked by its largest investors.

The company lost more than half of its market value in the three months leading up to Icahn’s initial investment, but the shares have since increased in value by 20 percent.

Chesapeake is trying to pay off a heavy debt load incurred in recent years as it rushed to buy land and other assets.

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