Barnwell Industries breakup advocate is buying shares again
Mercury Real Estate Advisors LLC, the one-time largest shareholder of Barnwell Industries Inc. that in 2006 called for a breakup of the Honolulu-based company to maximize value, has added to its stake after previously reducing its position.
Greenwich, Conn.-based Mercury reported in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday that it owned 6.5 percent, or 536,408 shares, of Barnwell as of Feb. 11.
Nearly two years ago, Mercury owned 19.2 percent of the company when it wrote a letter to Barnwell's board demanding that the company sell off its oil and natural gas business in Canada and implement a stock buyback program, among other things.
Subsequently, Mercury reduced its stake to 17 percent as of Dec. 31, 2007 and then to 3.2 percent as of Jan. 4, 2008, according to SEC filings. The recent purchases, which were conducted through the open market or privately negotiated transactions, ranged from $8.67 to $12.21.
Morton Kinzler, chairman and CEO of Barnwell, is the largest shareholder now with a 16 percent stake.
Barnwell has a diverse business, with oil and natural gas operations in Alberta, Canada, and a real estate partnership on the Big Island.