Monday, December 14, 2009

Three more brief items

1. Dragon Oil holders

Today's Wall Street Journal informs me that shareholders of Dragon Oil PLC, a Dublin-based operation, have rejected a takeover offer from Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Co. This is despite a recommendation by the advisory group RiskMetrics, which says that in its view the price offered is fair.

Dragon Oil's principal asset is the Cheleken contract area in the Caspian Sea, with what the story, with James Herron's byline, calls "proven and probable reserves of 645 million barrels of oil and contingent gas resources of 3.2 trillion cubic feet as of June 2008."

As I observed last month, the answer to the question, "what is a 'proven' reserve?" is not as self-evident as the naive among us might expect. I wonder how solid these numbers are, especially since they have to be date-stamped to a year and a half ago.

2. Paul Samuelson, RIP

Paul Samuelson, the economist who wrote the textbook in which generations of undergraduate college students have learned the basics of supply and demand, micro and macro, fiscal and monetary policy tools, etc., has passed away at the age of 94. I have seen anything more specific about the cause of death than ... welll ... the fact that he was 94.

Samuelson was married to Marion Crawford from 1938 until her death in 1978. In 1981 he re-married, Risha Eckhaus, who survives him, as do six children from his first marriage. As does a nephew named Lawrence Summers, Obama's chief economic advisor.

3. The GSI bankruptcy

GSI is a multi-national family of companies that supply technology to the global medical, electronics, and industrial markets. Three of the entities within this family filed for chapter 11 reorganization last month in the bankruptcy court in Delaware: GSI Group Inc., the parent Canadian holding company; GSI Group Corp.; and MES International, Inc., a non-operating subsidiary of GSI Group Corp.

On November 23, Stephen Bershad requested the creation of an equity committee. It now appears that he'll get his wish. He has entered into an agreement with the debtors in possession that they will support this request, in return for his commitment not to contest the April 30, 2010 meeting date set by the Board of Directors.

If the equity committee is not formed by December 31, 2009, or, if formed, is disbanded for any reason, Mr. Bershad retains his right to challenge the April 30, 2010 meeting date.

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