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Finance

Hedge fund Cruiser Capital ends fight with Ashland

Cruiser Capital will vote for company board nominees, wins an advisory role for former Union Carbide Chairman Bill Joyce

by Marc S. Reisch
January 23, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 4

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Credit: Ashland
Ashland runs personal care research labs in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

In a sudden turn of events, Ashland and Cruiser Capital Advisors have decided to settle their war of words.

Under a peacemaking deal, the hedge fund will get a say on Ashland’s selection of two new board members, and former Union Carbide Chairman William H. Joyce, who Cruiser had pushed as a board member, will become an Ashland operations consultant.

In exchange, Cruiser, which owns 2.4% of Ashland’s shares, has agreed to vote in favor of Ashland’s board nominees this year and next. Cruiser also agreed not to comment publicly on Ashland or its strategy any more this year and promised not to nominate new directors or make stockholder proposals for Ashland’s 2021 annual meeting.

Until the two ended their dispute, Cruiser had insisted that placing its four nominees on the board would advance Ashland’s transformation from a holding company to “a streamlined, pure-play, specialty chemical company,” while also increasing earnings.

Ashland resisted Cruiser’s plan, pointing to its record of improving shareholder value. To assuage other investor concerns, Ashland nominated Hexion CEO Craig A. Rogerson to its board and pledged to add two additional board members.

Now, Ashland CEO William A. Wulfsohn says, “we can return our full attention to executing on our ongoing transformation and achieving our financial and operational objectives.”

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