Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three brief items

1. Tang Capital v. Penwest

Tang Capital and Perceptive Life Sciences are waging a proxy contest vis-a-vis Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co. (NASDAQ: PPCO), asking shareholders to vote for a resolution "requesting that the Board promptly take all necessary action to wind down substantially all of the Company’s operations so that the full value of
the Opana ER royalty income stream will be retained for the benefit of shareholders."

Opana ER is a pain treatment licensed in the US since June 2006 and marketed under the name Endo. The dissidents apparently think that the rest of the company is a drag upon that one valuable asset. The matter will be resolved at the annual meeting today.

As it happens, just yesterday PenWest licensed Endo to Valeant Phamaceuticals, for 10-20% of the net sales in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Penwest's management is predictably resisting the call for dissolution.

2. Keweenaw Land Association Ltd.

Keweenaw is asking its shgareholders to vote for the company slate against dissident board candidates Ronald S. Gutstein and Scott Frisoli at their annual shareholder meeting, scheduled for June 23. This meeting is to take place in Ironwood, Michigan.

(I love Ironwood as a place name: a compound of two solid Anglo-Saxon nouns. But let's stay focused.)

Gutstein and Frisoli will bring little to the board, the company says, because, "Though undoubtedly possessing skills in the securities industry, they lack executive level experience in an industrial company and industry-specific experience in timberlands and minerals management, a fact acknowledged by RiskMetrics in its 2008 report.

"Neither individual has visited the Company, toured the Company's timberland holdings, or had in-depth on-site discussions with senior managers."

3. Chrysler-Fiat obstruction removed

I had hopes, briefly, that we were about to see a classic instance of judicial defiance of the executive. But it was not to be.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg had up the Chrysler-Fiat deal for about 24 hours.

Not exactly like the Steel-nationalization case from the Truman era, was it?


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