July 29, 2014 Okapi Partners Featured in DealBook on Proxy Fight at Cliffs Natural Resources
The results aren’t in yet for the board election at Cliffs Natural Resources, the mining company. But the activist hedge fund seeking control of the board is feeling confident enough to declare victory anyway.
The fund, Casablanca Capital, said on Tuesday that all six of its director nominees prevailed at the company’s annual meeting. Its announcement was based on preliminary estimates by the proxy advisory firm Okapi Partners, which people briefed on the matter said showed a meaningful margin of victory.
Among the candidates that the hedge fund had put forth was Lourenco Goncalves, the former chief executive of Metals USA and Casablanca’s choice for Cliffs’ next chief executive.
“There were two messages that the shareholders have sent,” Douglas Taylor, a co-founder of Casablanca and another of the candidates on the hedge fund’s slate, said in a telephone interview. “One, to the incumbent board, they said, ‘You need to be held responsible.’ And two, the right people to lead change are Lourenco and the other Casablanca directors.”