Another independent shareholder advocacy group has come out against billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s proposal for Swiss drilling contractor Transocean to issue a $4-a-share dividend.
Glass Lewis & Co., a governance analysis and proxy voting firm, also said in a report it issued this week that it does not support two of the three Icahn nominees to serve on Transocean’s board – Jose Maria Alapont and John Lipinski.
Glass Lewis did recommend in its report that Transocean shareholders elect Icahn nominee Samuel Merksamer to the board and reject incumbent nominee J. Michael Talbert, who is currently the board chairman.
Last week, Institutional Shareholder Services said in a report that it opposed Icahn’s $4-a-share dividend proposal. ISS said it supported Icahn nominees Alapont and Merksamer and recommended the removal of Talbert and incumbent nominee Robert Sprague to make room for them. ISS didn’t support Lipinski.
Rancor leading up to Transocean’s May 17 annual shareholder meeting has steadily increased since Icahn disclosed earlier this year that he had acquired a sizable stake in the company and that he would aggressively push for change.
Icahn is urging fellow shareholders to support his proposal to increase the company’s dividend to $4 a share and elect Alapont, Merksamer and Lipinski to the board. Transocean has proposed a $2.24 dividend and re-election of its entire slate of board members.
Transocean has defended its board and business strategy and accused Icahn of handpicking board nominees that are closely tied to him and lack relevant industry experience.
FuelFix reported earlier this week that Alapont has been dogged for nearly a decade by a criminal complaint in Spain that accuses him of taking part in a multi-million dollar fraud against employees of a company where he used to be an executive. Alapont told FuelFix that to this day he hasn’t been served with the complaint. A Spanish prosecutor said the case is still pending and prison time is still possible for the defendants, including Alapont.