Sunday, April 12, 2009

Defeat for Ramius

Orthofix International NV has declared victory over the rebels.

Orthofix is a medical device manufacturer, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts but organized in accord with the laws of the Netherlands Antilles.

At a special general meeting of its shareholders, April 2, the incumbent board members won re-election as against the four nominees of Ramius.

In its statement Thursday, Orthofix said: “The Board of Directors and management team of Orthofix are thankful that shareholders chose to reject the short-term focus of the Ramius proposals, instead voting to support the Company’s long-term strategic plan to deliver shareholder value.”

One of the Ramius proposals was that Orthofix should sell its Blackstone Medical division, a maker of spinal implant products that Othofix purchased in 2006, taking on a heavy debt load in the process.

Before the meeting, Robert Gaines-Cooper had spoken up on behalf of retaining Blackstone. Gaines-Cooper, Group Chairman of Venner Capital SA, said that a spine strategy is crucial to Orthofix' future, and that Blackstone is "poised for a solid 2009 and beyond."

Anyway, the management now has a green light for their spinal strategy. The shareholder vote has presumably strengthened their backbone.

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