Origin Energy’s retail investor base has been subject to weeks of relentless campaigning to vote in favour of the proposed $20 billion Origin Energy takeover by a private North American duo, with the board mounting a multichannel effort to engage the critical voting block ahead of Thursday’s pivotal vote.
It’s no surprise that in a situation like this, with billions of dollars and plenty of fees at stake, that both sides will be campaigning hard. Still, it was interesting to hear one retail shareholder – who holds less than 0.02 per cent of the energy giant and agreed to talk to Street Talk on the condition of anonymity – say they’d been “hounded” by proxy solicitation firms representing the board seeking to shore up the vote.
Origin chairman Scott Perkins has urged shareholders to vote for the deal. Oscar Colman
Shareholders received several phone calls with representatives wanting to know what they thought of the Brookfield-EIG Partners offer and how they intended to vote. This was followed by a series of emails and text messages reminding them that proxies were closing soon. Social media ads also chased them around the internet.
“Origin shareholder: time is running out to have your say on the proposed acquisition of Origin,” one text message read, including links to an online voting page. “If you wish for the Scheme to proceed, you need to vote IN FAVOUR.”
Another text reminded shareholders the increased bid was “above the current trading price and the independent expert’s range”, linking to a video outlining the offer.
The same shareholder told Street Talk that this is only one of a handful of times they’ve been contacted directly by a company in their 20-plus years of active investing.
“It’s a rare occurrence,” theyRead more on afr.com