| AMSTERDAM, April 12
AMSTERDAM, April 12 Message from the front line
of a takeover battle: even the smartest investors can make
sloppy mistakes with a sensitive email.
In a communication seen by Reuters, Gordon Singer of hedge
fund Elliot Advisors accidentally included a representative of
AkzoNobel in an otherwise internal distribution list
Not just any email, but one in which Elliott's team
discussed tactics after privately informing Akzo it and other
investors would seek to convene a meeting of Akzo shareholders
to discuss the dismissal of Chairman Antony Burgmans due to his
opposition to takeover talks with PPG Industries.
Akzo has said PPG's 24.6 billion euros ($26 billion) offer
is not worth discussing further - a stance which has angered
some shareholders who see scope for further talks between the
The Singer email speculated on whether Akzo would make
public the letter calling for Burgman's dismissal and said
shareholders would withdraw their call for a meeting if Burgmans
did agree to talks with PPG. In a footnote, Singer instructed an
Elliott employee to inform PPG that it had sent the letter to
Akzo about the possible meeting.
Akzo Nobel's director of investor relations Lloyd Midwinter
was mistakenly included as one of the addressees.
In its response to the letter, Akzo said it fully backed the
chairman. Perhaps having noticed the footnote to the email, Akzo
also filed a complaint with the Dutch financial markets
authority AFM, alleging PPG and Elliott may have engaged in
improper sharing of sensitive information. It demanded to know
what if any agreements exist between PPG and Elliott.
Though it was not immediately clear what rules the U.S.
company and the British fund might have violated, both felt
obliged to respond. Elliott confirmed that it and other
investors had been in contact with PPG.
Elliott is "aware of its various regulatory obligations,
including obligations related to handling price sensitive, or
potentially price sensitive, information," it said in a
PPG "has always maintained its strict and long-standing
policy of not sharing any material, non-public information and
has acted in compliance with applicable laws and regulations,
including those of the Netherlands, with respect to
communications with any shareholders," it said.
"There has not been any, and there are currently no
agreements or arrangements, in whatever form, between PPG and
AFM confirmed it had received a complaint from Akzo but
declined to comment on whether it would take any action.
($1 = 0.9422 euros)
(Editing by David Holmes)