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Bennett, dissidents call truce in proxy fight Add to ...

Facing a battle that it likely could not win, Bennett Environmental Inc. gave in to the demands of a group of dissident shareholders.

After the dissidents, led by legendary takeover artist Sam Belzberg, said Tuesday that they had enough votes to throw out the board of Bennett at an upcoming vote, the company agreed to a truce.

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Bennett said Wednesday that chief executive Jack Shaw will step down, and the company's board slate will not stand at an upcoming meeting. Lorie Haber, whom the dissidents planned to install as chairman, will instead become chief executive, and the board slate proposed by the dissidents will now be supported by Bennett.

The truce ends a fight that went beyond the usual rhetoric of the shareholder letters (Mr. Belzberg still writes a very good one, though he said in an interview he took no pleasure in it) and even into the courts. But it doesn't answer any real questions about Bennett.

The company's stock is nowhere near its highs, and its main asset at this point is cash in the bank and tax pools, and a "a soil remediation business that can be very profitable when it is operating," as Mr. Belzberg put it in his letter to other shareholders.

Even Mr. Belzberg isn't sure what to do, as he said in a recent interview, only that something has to be done.

 

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