Hedge Fund Calls Mittal ‘Prejudiced’

Oct 31 2007 | 7:31am ET

Monaco hedge fund SRM Advisers isn’t especially happy with the final terms of the Arcelor and Mittal merger. So it wants those likely to be happiest with it to respectfully butt out.

In a letter to Lakshmi Mittal, the CEO of ArcelorMittal, now the largest steel company in the world, SRM called the terms offered to the remaining Arcelor shareholders “materially less favorable that originally offered to all shareholders last year,” and accused Mittal of being “unfairly prejudiced” toward those Arcelor shareholders. Under the original merger deal, Arcelor shareholders received 11 ArcelorMittal shares for every seven Arcelor shares. But after 94% of Arcelor investors had tendered their shares, ArcelorMittal reduced the offer to eight shares per seven. Most of the few remaining Arcelor shares—still trading on Euronext Paris—were snapped up by hedge funds.

“Given the above facts,” SRM wrote, “we request on behalf of the Arcelor minority shareholders that ArcelorMittal abstain from any vote to approve the 8/7 ratio at the Arcelor Extraordinary General Meeting” next week. Deferring to the “majority of the minority” would “allow the minority Arcelor shareholders to decide themselves on the merger ratio.”

ArcelorMittal called SRM’s complaints unjustified, arguing the 8/7 ration “is equitable to both Arcelor minorities and ArcelorMittal shareholders.”

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