Harbinger Capital Partners, which recently acquired a 6.6% stake in Sunoco, has a history of restructuring weakened companies and selling their segmented businesses. Analysts speculate that a cash-rich Russian oil firm such as Lukoil would benefit from buying Sunoco's refineries and would have the funds to upgrade its refineries. Sunoco has struggled this year with rapidly escalating crude oil costs, and its refineries are structured for light crude, which is becoming increasingly less available.

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