Hedge Fund Wins Majority On Miner’s Board

Jul 30 2014 | 8:16am ET

Hedge fund Casablanca Capital is poised to take control of mining company Cliffs Natural Resources, it said yesterday.

The New York-based firm said that preliminary results show its slate of candidates winning a majority of the seats on Cliffs board. Cliffs CEO Gary Halverson—who Casablanca wants fired—said that the official results would be announced within three days.

Casablanca launched its proxy contest after complaining about Cliffs’ “extended period of gross underperformance and poor decisionmaking.” It wants the company to spin off its international operations and to restructure its U.S. business as a master-limited partnership, and plans to install newly-elected director Lourenco Goncalves as CEO. Casablanca CEO Douglas Taylor is also among the apparently victorious candidates.

Cliffs had sought to mollify Casablanca by conceding four seats on the board to the hedge fund, after two influential proxy services urged investors to elect as many. Casablanca dismissed the move as a “desperate last-minute ploy.”

The election of its entire slate sends “a resounding message of support for our efforts to drive meaningful change at Cliffs, bring true accountability to the company’s leadership and restore shareholder value,” Casablanca’s Donald Drapkin crowed.

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