By Anna Driver
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Activist investor Sandell Asset Management is urging Spectra Energy Corp
Sandell, which owns less than 1 percent of pipeline company Spectra and 1 percent of refining company Phillips 66, said in a letter dated October 2 it believed DCP Midstream's assets are a better fit with Phillips. DCP Midstream is jointly owned by Spectra and Phillips 66.
Asset management firm Sandell has recommended to executives at both companies that Spectra transfer its 50 percent interest in DCP Midstream to Phillips' master limited partnership (MLP), Phillips 66 Partners LP
"The industry has been in this race to increase scale and simplify corporate structure and reduce the cost of capital," said Shreyas Gupta, senior managing director and portfolio manager at Sandell.
Spectra and Phillips 66 declined to comment on the proposed transaction but said in a statement they regularly look for ways to enhance the value of DCP Midstream.
U.S. energy companies that own the infrastructure needed to process and move oil and gas frequently form MLPs, structures favored by energy companies for tax efficiency and a lower cost of capital.
The letter marked the second time that Sandell has pressed Spectra for changes. It said in a letter in June it believed Spectra was undervalued and should trade at about $48 per share, 33 percent above its Friday closing price of $35.95.
Spectra rose 0.4 percent to $36.08 in Monday morning New York Stock Exchange trading, while Phillips 66 added 1.2 percent to $64.12.
Last week, Devon Energy Corp
The new business will consist of two publicly traded companies, a MLP and a general partner that will control it. Devon will have a controlling stake in both entities.
(Reporting By Anna Driver; Editing by Terry Wade, Diane Craft and Jeffrey Benkoe)