Third Point gets US approval for Murphy Oil stock buy

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Activist investor fund ThirdPoint has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy an unspecifiedstake in Murphy Oil Corp , the Federal Trade Commissionsaid on Thursday.

Shares in the company rose more than 4 percent on Oct. 3after hedge fund manager and veteran corporate agitator DanielLoeb told investors in his Third Point fund that shares of theoil and gas company could be 60 percent higher.

He has urged Murphy Oil to take steps like selling fuelstations and other downstream operations.

Third Point said it recently applied for antitrust approvalwith an eye to potentially increasing its position if its talkswith the board did not bear fruit.

Antitrust approval was granted, according to a listing ofapproved transactions that the FTC posts on its website severaltimes a week. The approvals can come from either the FTC orJustice Department, which split the job of enforcing antitrustlaw.

Murphy is one of the $9.3 billion fund's five largestpositions, a September fact sheet reviewed by Reuters showed.

The fund also recently engaged in an activist battle withYahoo Inc , and eventually secured board seats.

Third Point declined comment while Murphy Oil could notimmediately be reached for comment. Murphy shares were up 2.7percent to $58.63 in morning New York Stock Exchange trading.

(Reporting By Diane Bartz; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

((Diane.Bartz@thomsonreuters.com)(1 202 898 8313))