Divorce $11.2 Billion, Continental Resources chief executive Harold Hamm, one of America’s wealthiest and most influential businessmen, is embroiled in a contentious divorce that could lead to a record financial settlement and threaten his control of America’s fastest-growing oil company.
Sue Ann Hamm, Harold Hamm’s second wife and a former executive at Continental, filed for divorce on May 19, 2012, Oklahoma court records show……nypost.
Documents in the case are sealed. But in a March 7, 2013 filing obtained by Reuters, Sue Ann Hamm alleges that Harold “was having an affair” that she discovered in 2010, prompting her to later file for divorce.
Harold Hamm, 67, is a leading force behind the U.S. oil boom and served as the senior energy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign. Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world, and Forbes listed him last year among the 50 richest Americans. Ranked No. 35, Hamm is worth $11.3 billion, the magazine estimated.
His estranged wife, Sue Ann Hamm, 56, has held key posts at Continental. She has led oil-industry trade groups in Oklahoma, testified to Congress on behalf of Continental and created Continental’s oil and gas marketing units. She is no longer with the company, her lawyer said.
The Hamms were married in April 1988 and have two adult children, Jane and Hilary. Harold Hamm has three children from a prior marriage that ended in divorce in 1987.
Whether the Hamms signed a prenuptial agreement is unclear. Legal analysts who reviewed court filings said that without one, the case could lead to a record-breaking financial settlement – one that could exceed the $1.7 billion paid by News Corp. founder and chairman Rupert Murdoch to ex-wife Anna in 1999. One outcome could be a split of “marital property” that may include dividing Harold Hamm’s controlling 68 percent stake in Continental, currently worth $11.2 billion.
“I don’t know of anything that’s ever been this big,” said Barbara Atwood, professor emeritus of family law at the University of Arizona. “There’s just so much money involved.”
Continental was subpoenaed in the case last summer, and it was ordered by the Oklahoma court to hand over documents late last year. Four other companies controlled by Hamm also were subpoenaed.
A review of Continental’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings and company statements shows no mention of the divorce proceedings. Although corporate governance scholars said Continental had no legal obligation to disclose the Hamms’ divorce proceedings to shareholders, “It’s a lawsuit that involves a potential impact on the controlling shareholder,” said Charles Elson, director of The Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. “Certainly, it would be relevant to an investor if there is going to be or could be a shift in control.”