Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cliffs meeting re-scheduled

The Cleveland, Ohio based mining company, Cliffs Natural Resources, has rescheduled its special shareholder meeting, called to approve its proposed merger with Alpha Natural Resources.

The company was known as Cleveland-Cliffs until last month, and it had planned to hold the special meeting on November 21.

Now they have set a new date -- almost a month later. The meeting will take place December 19, with a "record date" of November 19.

Ohio statutes require a supermajority of shareholders to approve of such a merger, so opponents can block this deal with 35%. Such opposition does exist, as those who've been following the matter along with me know.

My reading of the delay is that the management at Cliffs knows they don't yet have the votes to push this through. But they think they can persuade some of the dissidents to vote their way given the extra month they've now given themselves.

Alpha is unhappy. It has brought a lawsuit in Delaware seeking to obtain an order invalidating this re-scheduling. What gives there? Does Alpha want to push the deal through quickly? or do they want to kill the deal by holding the vote befoe any of the dissidents can be persuaded to change their views? (Seller's remorse?)

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