Why Did Chesapeake’s Third-Largest Investor Just Dump His Stake?

In yet more bad news for Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE:CHK), billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens announced Thursday that he had sold his shares in the company.

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Chesapeake represented the third-largest stock holding in Pickens’ portfolio at the end of 2011. Pickens’ investment firm, BP Capital Management, owned 570,055 shares of the stock at the end of the year, according to Bloomberg. When asked if the sale had anything to do with the current upheaval at Chesapeake, Pickens denied it, saying that Chesapeake Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon was a good friend and that the stock sale was because “we didn’t like natural gas.”

Last week, McClendon was stripped of his chairman title and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an informal inquiry into his activities at the company. McClendon is also currently the subject of an internal review. Suspicions were raised about his personal earnings from sales of assets related to the company’s Founders Well Participation Program. According to allegations, McClendon timed corporate divestitures in order to simultaneously reap large personal benefits.

Shares of Chesapeake have declined as much as 23 percent since the start of 2012.

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