In a defeat for embattled activist hedge fund Pirate Capital, shareholders of utility Aquila Inc. overwhelmingly approved a proposed sale of the company.
At a five-minute long shareholder meeting in Blue Springs, Mo., Aquila CEO Richard Green—whose face Pirate put on a button opposing the deal—said the proposed purchase by Great Plains Energy passed. More than 88% of shareholders—representing 60% of all shares outstanding—voted for approval.
Norwalk, Conn.-based Pirate had argued that the deal, worth about $4.30 per share, did not fairly value Aquila, and pushed for a deal worth at least $5 per share. However, neither its sartorial statements against the deal—in both button and t-shirt form—nor its attendant Web site—badaquiladeal.com—nor a lawsuit—dismissed last month—was able to derail the deal.
The vote by Great Plains Energy shareholders is set to be announced today.
Pirate, which has seen most of its assets disappear under a hail of redemption requests, owned about 5% of Aquila’s outstanding shares.