Activist investors scored a victory after BHP Billiton Ltd. BHP 1.26% said it was looking to sell its onshore U.S. oil-and-gas operations . The Melbourne-based company, the world’s largest listed miner by market value, said it had determined its shale operations in the U.S. weren’t core and it was actively looking at exit options. The news was accompanied by a sharp lift in BHP’s second-half dividend as it swung back to an annual profit. It follows months of campaigning by New York hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. Elliott had questioned the fit between BHP’s petroleum division and mining of iron ore, copper and other minerals, calling for sweeping changes including spinning off the shale business, launching an independent review of BHP’s global petroleum operations, and collapsing its dual British-Australian structure around a single main listing in Sydney. BHP said it would complete […]