TORONTO — Agrium Inc won another ringing endorsement just ahead of a crucial shareholder vote after influential advisory firm Glass Lewis on Tuesday advised its clients to back all 12 of Agrium’s board nominees over a slate nominated by dissident investor Jana Partners.
The recommendation from the well-regarded advisory firm is a big boost for Agrium ahead of a shareholder vote on April 9 and follows similar recommendations from smaller firms like U.S.-based Egan-Jones and UK-based Pensions Investment Research Consultants.
The war of words over a takeover offer that no one will acknowledge publicly and may never get off the ground continued on Thursday, with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. director Bill Ackman saying rail consolidation could “meaningfully” improve industry efficiency.
Remember when U.S. hedge fund manager Bill Ackman railed against the cozy corporate culture of the Canadian establishment during his bruising proxy battle to unseat the blue-chip board at Canadian Pacific Ltd. last year?
Recall his lament of how difficult it was to recruit candidates to join his activist campaign because folks were unwilling to “stick their necks out” when his New York-based firm Pershing Square Capital Management LP launched an assault to force the ouster of Fred Green, chief executive of one of this country’s most venerable and underperforming companies.
It might be all about winning but victory is just the start of the process.
That is how Stephen Griggs, chief executive of Smoothwater Capital, an activist investor with two scalps under its belt, describes life as an activist.
Griggs, who in an earlier career ran the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, told a conference Tuesday in Toronto that activist targets are selected on the basis that management is underperforming and that a new team with a new approach could return the company to a significant improvement in share value.
Canada’s rules on poison-pills and the relative ease with which investors can call for shareholder meetings make the country a friendlier place for shareholder activists than the U.S., said Bill Ackman, the billionaire hedge-fund manager.
“It’s a better regime in almost every measure,” he said during an Ontario Securities Commission event in Toronto. Canadian regulators often remove poison pills — shareholder rights plans that can be used to fend off an unsolicited bid — after a short period.
TORONTO — The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s largest pension funds, said it has voted to support Agrium Inc’s board nominees ahead of a shareholder meeting next week, in a blow to activist investor Jana Partners.
The Canadian fertilizer maker and farm products retailer Agrium has been locked in a war of words for months with activist investor Jana Partners LLC, a New York-based hedge fund.
Shareholder activism is likely to gather momentum in the Canadian energy industry in the coming months, sparked by some poor stock performance, the success of past campaigns and growing support from large institutional investors.
Money managers, as well as the proxy firms that help activists and targeted companies navigate these battles, say that a stronger economy has also given activists the financial firepower they need to buy the large corporate stakes required to push for control.
By Takeover Analyst:In previous articles, I have expressed my bullish outlook on the rail industry. In this one, I argued, frankly, that "railroad stocks are heading skyward". Satiating my interest in railroads with my background in proxy fights, it is interesting to watch the battle going on at Canadian Pacific (CP).
Don’t tell Christine Carson, Penny Rice and Suzanne Makhan that the market for providing shareholder services is already too crowded.
The three are co-founders of ShoreCrest Group, the newest entrant providing a mixed bag of activities including proxy battles, regular annual meeting solicitations and acting as an escrow agent involving the payment of cash or securities upon some pre-determined event. All have worked in that business, often together, for 20 years.