Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Elliott plans legal action if Akzo rejects vote on chairman dismissal

Elliott plans legal action if Akzo rejects vote on chairman dismissal

Akzo has rejected two PPG takeover offers, while 3% shareholder Elliott has been pressing the company to engage in deal talks.

An Akzo Nobel spokesman said the company strongly supported the chairman and would respond to the request within 14 days as required by Dutch law. If Akzo stuck to its "inexplicable" refusal, "Elliott intends to use its recourse to the Dutch Courts", the fund manager added. It has called on Elliott and PPG to clarify their relationship.

The Pittsburgh-based company added that "there are now no agreements or arrangements, in whatever form, between PPG and Elliott Advisors".

It was not clear what rules, if any, the shareholder and PPG might have violated.

Elliott Management owns 3.25% of the equity interest in Akzo Nobel via its United Kingdom division.

Employing a multi-strategy trading approach, the firm manages approximately United States dollars 32 billion in two funds for a range of investors, including pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, foundations, funds-of-funds, high net worth individuals and families, and employees of the firm.

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In March, Azko rejected a $24 billion takeover offer from PPG, saying it was too low.

Akzo shareholders must hold in total at least 10% of the company's issued stock to be able to convene an extraordinary general meeting, which would then take a few weeks to organize.

PPG is waiting for Akzo to come under more shareholder pressure before making a new acquisition offer, one of the sources said. Shareholders can vote to remove management and members of the board, but the supervisory board retains the right to nominate their successors.

Perhaps having noticed the footnote to the email, Akzo also filed a complaint with the Dutch financial markets authority AFM, alleging PPG and Elliott may have engaged in improper sharing of sensitive information.

PPG, whose paint brands include Pittsburgh Paints and Glidden, is seeking a tie-up with Akzo a year after rival Sherwin-Williams Co. agreed to buy Valspar Corp. for more than $9 billion.

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