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Globe Investor Before Agrium: A look at recent Canadian boardroom battles

As the biggest shareholder of Agrium Inc. attempts to replace almost half of the company’s directors as part of a campaign to break up the business, reporter Boyd Erman looks at other recent boardroom battles

Activist investor Bill Ackman, head of Pershing Square Capital Management, went to war with the board of the country’s second largest railroad and won. Much of the board and CEO Fred Green resigned. It was a signal moment for Canadian boards, showing that even blue chip companies were not immune to shareholder activism.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

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After management and the Quebec government signalled that the underperforming hardware retailer would not be sold to willing bidder Lowe’s Cos. Inc., one of the largest shareholders, Invesco Canada, launched a bid to remove Rona’s board.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Hedge fund Mason Capital sought to block Telus’s plan to collapse its dual-class share structure into a single class. After months of public warring, Telus won a shareholder vote on the idea. Mason is still fighting the plan in court.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

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Investor Greg Boland, who runs hedge fund West Face Capital, criticized Maple Lead Foodsand its board for being too cozy and too willing to spend shareholders’ money on large projects. After a public set-to, Mr. Boland and Maple Leaf’s chief executive, Michael McCain, agreed to work together. Mr. Boland is now on the board.

Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

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