BlackRock (BLK), the largest asset management firm in the world, has increased its stake in Massey Energy, the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia, according to 3G fillings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
BlackRock owned 18.1 million Massey shares, or 17.77% of the company, at the end of 2010, compared with 12.9 million shares at the end of 2009. In recent weeks, Massey (MEE) has frequently been mentioned as a takeover target. The Virginia-based company says it is considering strategic options and analysts view a sale as more likely with the retirement of CEO Don Blankenship.
Massey is the largest holding of the $1.5 billion BlackRock Energy & Resources Fund, according to Bloomberg News. Last week, the fund's manager, Daniel Rice, made bullish comments on coal and oil stocks, saying some coal stocks could double when oil reaches $100 per barrel.
The fund also owns shares of Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), the company several industry analysts believe will eventually acquire Massey. Press reports have previously said the two companies have held advanced talks.