Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm. Image courtesy of Forbes/Youtube.

Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm is appealing a $1 billion divorce settlement as falling oil prices take a bite out of his company’s valuation.

In November, Hamm was ordered to pay $995 million by the end of 2014 to his ex-wife in one of the largest divorce settlements in U.S. history.

The award would make Sue Ann Arnall, 58, one of the 100 wealthiest women in the United States.

The settlement is in addition to about $25 million Arnall won in 2012.

Hamm argued in an appeal filed in early December that plunging oil prices have made his 68 percent stake in Oklahoma-based Continental Resources less valuable than the initial settlement presumed.

Since August, Continental’s stock has tumbled from a record high $80.64 per share to $38.36 per share at closing bell on Thursday.

Hamm, 68, has not disclosed how much his stake in the company is currently worth.

“The vast majority of the enhanced value of the CLR (Continental) stock was due to market forces and contributions of third parties,” Hamm said in an appeal filing.

Hamm said “passive” market factors, particularly surging oil prices, rather than any active effort on his part are to thank for Continental’s good fortune.

The appeal hinges on a distinction made in Oklahoma divorce law between monetary gains earned through active efforts or skill versus passive market forces.

In Oklahoma, only gains made through active effort or skill can be split between the two parties in a divorce.

A court memo distributed on December 17 said a $322.7 million payment installment Hamm was set to give Arnall will be postponed until a January 6 hearing, Oklahoma-based KFOR 4 said.


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