DISGRUNTLED Independent News & Media (INM) shareholder Denis O’Brien wants the company’s board to outline a full restructuring plan to shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting of the company.
However, INM chief executive Gavin O’Reilly has dismissed Mr O’Brien’s latest tactic as seeking to reverse the authority of the company’s board. Mr O’Brien, the company’s second biggest shareholder after Tony O’Reilly, yesterday added this latest demand to his proposed EGM agenda.
In a statement issued after the markets closed, Mr O’Brien said it seemed the board of INM is considering refinancing proposals which would be highly dilutive and would not serve shareholders’ best interests.
“In accordance with corporate governance best practice, the board of INM must not be allowed to take any action which would substantially dilute shareholders until it has first presented them with a restructuring plan.
“The company has been through four standstill agreements and must now lay out its plans to give shareholders, which have already seen over 90% of their value wiped out, the chance to vote on INM’s future,” he said.
Mr O’Brien confirmed he has requested an additional resolution to be voted on at an EGM which would ensure that power is returned to shareholders. “I will be asking the board to recommend the resolution which would see a sensible solution approved and any attempt to circumnavigate shareholders blocked,” he said.
Mr O’Reilly said: “Yet again we see Mr O’Brien’s blocking tactics at work, seeking to reverse the valid authority of the board when it doesn’t suit him.
An INM spokesman said that consistent with good corporate governance, all matters requiring shareholder approval will be put to shareholders for their consideration. Mr O’Brien also wants a vote on a number of resolutions, including the disposal of the London-based Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers.
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