'Clerical Error' Sinks Hedge Fund's Activist Campaign

Mar 12 2012 | 2:32pm ET

A lot goes into successful shareholder activism—and none of it, apparently, is more important than dotting i's and crossing t's.

Such is the lesson of Octavian Advisors' failed bid to throw out the directors of German medical and electronics products manufacturer Balda AG. Last month, the hedge fund's candidates for the board were defeated—narrowly, according to Reuters. It seems that Octavian failed to properly vote all of its own 8.3% of Balda's shares in favor of its own candidates.

Octavian admitted that a clerical error prevented its votes from being counted, although it did not offer any further details. "There was apparently a clerical error at the extraordinary general meeting chaired by [Balda Chairman] Mr. Naschke," and Octavian spokesman told Reuters. "That does not change the fact, however, that Octavian's proposal received overwhelming support from shareholders who are not affiliated with Michael Chiang."

Chiang is Balda's top shareholder—and a top shareholder of touchscreen manufacturer TPK Holding, in which Balda owns 16.1%. Octavian has pushed Balda to sell that stake, arguing that the company is bending to Chiang's will.

For its part, Balda said its board members were reelected "with a clear majority" and denied that there were technical mistakes at the extraordinary general meeting.

In Depth

Related-Company Fees: Normal Industry Practice or Conflicted Compensation?

Nov 11 2015 | 4:23pm ET

Regulatory agencies as well as investors are increasingly exploring whether certain...


Ferrari Roars in Wall Street Debut

Oct 21 2015 | 4:28pm ET

Shares of supercar maker Ferrari jumped as much as 15 percent to a high of nearly...

Guest Contributor

Private Debt - What is the Opportunity?

Nov 11 2015 | 3:28pm ET

In this contributed article, Rob Allard, founding partner of Firebreak Capital...


Editor's Note

    Oct 21 2015 | 10:41am ET

    One of the most unique charity benefits in the hedge fund industry, A Leg To Stand On's (ALTSO's) Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest - NYC, raised nearly $500,000 last Thursday thanks to the generous support of major sponsors and nearly 1,400 attendees from the Tri-State finance, business and hedge fund communities. Read more…