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Activist investor Carl Icahn, shown in a 2007 file photo.

CHIP EAST/REUTERS

Transocean Ltd. has disclosed that billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has acquired a 1.56-per-cent stake in the offshore rig contractor and is looking to increase that holding.

Mr. Icahn is seeking regulatory approval to acquire shares worth more than $682.1-million (U.S.), according to a statement on Transocean's website.

If he gets approval, Mr. Icahn would become one of Transocean's largest shareholders with just over 5 per cent of the company, based on its closing stock price of $54.09 on Jan. 11.

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Transocean's biggest shareholder is Capital World Investors, a division of The Capital Group Companies Inc., which owned 5.12 per cent as of Oct. 15, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Mr. Icahn's move comes less than two weeks after Transocean agreed to pay $1.4-billion to settle U.S. government charges over BP PLC's massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2012. Transocean employed nine of the 11 workers killed in the accident.

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