ConocoPhillips announced separation into separate E&P and R&M companies today. The spin-off is likely during the first half of 2012. ConocoPhillips' major businesses are well positioned in their respective markets, so the resulting spin-off companies should look strong from a financial perspective. See my article on Spin-Off transactions.
ConocoPhillips was a top performer among integrated oil companies during 2010. Leading analysts project that the company will earn $7.75 per share and dividends will rise by 10% annually in 2011 - 2012.
THE LEGAL DETAILS:
The ConocoPhillips board approved the separation yesterday.
A ruling from the IRS is required to ensure this transaction qualifies for tax-free treatment (though meeting the requirements does not appear to be an issue).
Neither FTC nor shareholder approval is required.