Alliance board writes letter appeal to shareholders
The board of Alliance Trust has issued a direct appeal to its 60,000 shareholders to reject a move by its largest investor to install a trio of new directors on the Dundee-based firm’s board.
In a circular sent out yesterday, the Trust’s current bosses claimed that the boardroom shake up instigated by US-based 12 per cent shareholderElliott Advisors would be the “thin end of the wedge” and called on shareholders to identify with the trust’s “rich history” when assessing the move.
The letter makes the case that Alliance’s heritage, dating back 127 years, runs contrary to Elliot’s, an organisation which Trust bosses described in the circular as “an affiliate of a US-based hedge fund manager with a controversial track record and a number of recent regulatory sanctions”.
They also stressed that Elliott has had “limited success in recent disruptive campaigns against public companies, such as Morrisons Supermarkets and National Express”.
It has also repeated its claim that Elliott has proposed a tender offer for 40 per cent of the shares – which Elliott denied last week as it published all correspondence. Alliance says in its circular the proposal emerged “in previous meetings with us, and as recently as last year”.
Alliance Trust chairman Karin Forseke (pictured) said the board had been “extensively renewed since my appointment and takes corporate governance matters extremely seriously”.
She said: “The board is firm in its belief that this is about more than the nomination of directors and that Elliott has plans for disruptive actions that are at odds with the interests of other shareholders. The directors proposed by Elliott, who have been identified on its instruction, cannot be considered to be independent and we believe their addition to the board would allow Elliott to pursue its own agenda and engineer a quick exit f rom its shareholding.
“Alliance Tr ust is a company with a rich history and for whom the future prospects are bright. We are asking our investors to stand behind us, as they have before, to protect their company so we can continue to deploy our differentiated strategy and deliver strong returns for all shareholders for generations to come.”
Earlier this week small investor group ShareSoc said Elliott should be supported, unless better arguments emerged from Alliance and Brewin Dolphin has also expressed muted support for the initiative, but Dundee neighbour DC Thomson with a 6.5 per cent stake is supporting the current board’s position.
Ms Forseke added: “We urge all of our shareholders to consider carefully the Circular that we have published today and encourage them to play an active role in protecting the future of Alliance Trust by voting against the resolutions put forward by Elliott.”