Investors revolt against management-led buyout of Canada’s Tuckamore

(Reuters) – Two large groups of investors that control roughly 20 percent of the shares of Tuckamore Capital Management Inc have gone public with their discontent over a management-led buyout of the firm, being sponsored by Birch Hill, a private equity player.

Canso Investment Counsel Ltd and Access Holdings Management Co, in separate statements, said they plan to vote shares they control against the controversial transaction as it materially undervalues Tuckamore, a holding firm that invests in early- and mid-stage private companies across all sectors.

A spokesman for Tuckamore was not immediately available for comment.

Tuckamore announced in early May that its senior management, along with the support of Birch Hill Equity Partners, had agreed to acquire the firm for 75 Canadian cents a share, valuing it at around C$60 million ($55 million).

Access Holdings, which owns and manages more than 5 percent of Tuckamore’s shares, issued a release on Tuesday urging other shareholders to vote against the offer, saying it is the “result of a seriously flawed process” that it deems abusive to non-management shareholders.

The Toronto-based firm said if the management-led buyout is thwarted it plans to propose a new slate of directors that will put forward a clear plan to create value at Tuckamore and keep the company public.

Access said it believes Tuckamore can be worth more than C$2 per share with the right strategy and proper management. It said its valuation is based solely on historical results and does not reflect the positive financial trajectory of Tuckamore’s largest assets,ClearStream, an oilfield services company, and Quantum Murray, a decommissioning and environmental remediation firm.

Access named a slate of six nominees for election to the board of Tuckamore, if the buyout plan is defeated. It also said it plans to bring back former owners and key managers who used to run some of the operating businesses Tuckamore owns, in a bid to revitalize the company.

Access laid out its plan just a day after Canso, which owns or controls close to 15 percent of Tuckamore’s shares, said late Monday it plans to vote against the management-led buyout at a shareholder meeting that is being held on July 15