New York hedge fund makes play for Wausau paperA New York based hedge fund has filed proxy materials in an effort to take control of Wausau Paper Corporation.
By: By Glen Moberg, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A New York based hedge fund has filed proxy materials in an effort to take control of Wausau Paper Corporation. The paper company is planning to fight the takeover attempt.
The hedge fund, Starboard Value, has filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission nominating three people to the Wausau Paper Board of Directors. Two Starboard nominees were elected to the board last year, and three more would give the hedge fund a majority, and with it, control of the company. In its statement, Starboard accuses the current board of “complacent oversight” and says it is waging the proxy fight to “help shareholders realize maximum value,” including pursuing “a sale of the entire company.” Wausau Paper Director of Investor Relations Perry Grueber says a response from the company is on the way. “At this juncture, it’s a fluid environment. We will be pursuing release of our own proxy materials which will explain the perceptions of our Board of Directors as it related to all of the issues that have been discussed publicly.”
Grueber would not comment on whether the current board is committed to keeping the company’s headquarters in the Wausau area: “I’m not sure that issue has been specifically reviewed, but I would have no specific information on that at this point.”
Grueber says the company will field its own slate of candidates to keep Starboard from getting a majority on the board. “If you’re speaking of current Wausau Paper directors, it’s my belief that they will stand for re-election at the upcoming meeting.”
Wausau Paper announced last month that it was putting its Mosinee and Rhinelander mills up for sale. Grueber says that action was part of a long term strategy of the current Board of Directors to maximize shareholder value.