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Elliott plans legal action if Akzo rejects vote on chairman dismissal

13 April 2017

The battle for control of Akzo Nobel NV escalated after activist shareholder Elliott Advisors called for the chairman's ouster, drawing a fiery retort from the Dutch paintmaker that has so far resisted calls to engage with PPG Industries Inc. on its $24 billion offer.

Elliott previously disclosed that it owns a 3% stake in Akzo and has pressed the company to engage in deal talks with US rival PPG Industries Inc. Under Dutch law, Akzo investors have the right to request the chairman's dismissal at a special meeting, according to Elliott.

Akzo has scheduled an investor day for April 19, which it will use to provide updated financial guidance and argue that its standalone operational plan, which calls for shedding its specialty chemicals business, will deliver more value with less risk than a merger with PPG. Elliott supports the move but has said Akzo should consider a deal for the whole company.

It was not clear what rules, if any, the shareholder and PPG might have violated.

Akzo Nobel management just wants to be left alone.

It has also reported Elliott to the regulators, saying it became aware yesterday of Elliott's intention to "privately share potentially price sensitive information with PPG" about its decision to request an EGM.

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Elliot holds 3.25% of Akzo shares but claims to represent shareholders with more than 10% of the stock.

Pittsburgh-based PPG says that is not true and Akzo should enter talks to better understand the benefits that would flow to those stakeholders from its own proposal.

In a response to the allegations, sent to TheStreet by an Elliott spokesperson, the group said that "as one of the top 20 shareholders of Akzo Nobel, Elliott has, as a matter of course, met and communicated with PPG".

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.

Buechner's vision is centered on the separation of a chemicals division, worth an estimated 9 billion euros ($9.6 billion).

Elliott plans legal action if Akzo rejects vote on chairman dismissal