Hedge Fund, Ex-Montana Gov. Seek Stillwater Control

Mar 13 2013 | 11:55am ET

It's official: A New York hedge fund and Montana's former governor are working together to take over a Montana mining company.

Clinton Group and Brian Schweitzer last month announced their plans to seek eight of Stillwater Mining Co.'s nine board seats in a letter to the company. Now, they've informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that they intend to take over Montana's largest public company and oust its CEO.

Schweitzer, a popular Democrat who left office in January after eight years, barred from running again by term limits, would be among Stillwater's new directors if elected, alongside Stillwater founder Charles Engles and six others. Stillwater last week said it was renominating CEO Frank McAllister and seven other board members. There are eight available spots on the board.

The vote to decide who will fill them is set for Stillwater's annual meeting on May 2.

Schweitzer said last month that he had joined forces with Clinton to keep Stillwater focused on Montana. He expressed concern about Stillwater's investment of more than $500 million in Canadian and Argentine projects.

"The only board of directors that is doing worse is the U.S. Congress," Schweitzer told Bloomberg News. "Clinton Group is trying to protect shareholder value, and I am too. But I'm also trying to protect this unique asset that we have in Montana."

Schweitzer, who said he had bought $377,000 in Stillwater shares, is seen as a dark-horse presidential candidate in 2016 and a possible candidate for Senate from Montana next year.

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