Hedge Fund Plans Proxy Battle For Control Of Miner Cliffs

Feb 14 2014 | 9:23am ET

Hedge fund Casablanca Capital has declared war on Cliffs Natural Resources.

The firm, which has been pushing Cliffs to split, announced this week that it would seek a majority on the mining company's board. Casablanca said that if its slate prevailed, it would name former Metals USA CEO Lourenco Goncalves as CEO.

Goncalves would replace Gary Halverson, a former Cliffs president and Barrick Gold Corp. executive who was formally installed as CEO yesterday.

Casablanca wants Cliffs to spin off its international operations and to restructure its U.S. business as a master-limited partnership. Despite being the hedge fund's designated CEO, Goncalves would not promise to carry out those plans.

Goncalves called the Casabanca proposals "good alternatives," but called them mere "possibilities."

"The company is disappointed that Casablanca seems intent on waging a public campaign rather than continuing its private engagement with our chairman and management to address our doubts and concerns," Cliffs said of the hedge fund's planned proxy fight.

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