Canada's Tuckamore fires back at dissident investor Access Holdings

TORONTO, June 26 Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:41pm EDT

TORONTO, June 26 (Reuters) - Tuckamore Capital Management Inc fired back at dissident investor Access Holdings Management Co LLC on Thursday, saying that Access had previously tried to seize control of Tuckamore without paying a premium to all shareholders.

Earlier this week, Access said it plans to vote the shares it controls against Tuckamore's proposed management-led buyout as it materially undervalues the holding firm that invests in early- and mid-stage private companies across sectors.

Toronto-based Access, which has the backing of a group of Tuckamore investors that control over 5 percent of the firm's shares, said it believes Tuckamore can be worth more than C$2 a share with the right strategy and proper management. Access has named a slate of six nominees for election to Tuckamore's board if the buyout plan is defeated.

Tuckamore is currently trading at 80 Canadian cents a share.

Other large investors have separately come out against the management-led buyout this week. Canso Investment Counsel Ltd, which controls close to 15 percent of Tuckamore's shares, said it plans to vote against the management-led buyout at a shareholder meeting on July 15.

JC Clark, which controls more than 8 percent of Tuckamore's shares, said on Wednesday it also plans to vote against the deal that values Tuckamore at about C$60 million ($55 million).

Tuckamore did not directly address either JC Clark and Canso in its statement, but said the buyout offer, backed by private equity firm Birch Hill, is fair. A source close to the company said it plans to reach out to and engage with all shareholders to address concerns about the proposal.

Toronto-based Tuckamore accused Access of trying to continue to seek a route to seize control of Tuckamore without paying all shareholders a premium for their stock or even fair value.

Access responded saying that Tuckamore's board has gone to great lengths to "misconstrue previous interactions with Access" in an attempt to confuse shareholders. It said it has always pursued and advocated that the company stay public so all its shareholders would benefit from future value creation.

"With shareholders independently lining up to oppose the management buyout we are disappointed, but not surprised, that Tuckamore's board is trying to divert attention from their failings," said Access in a statement.

($1 = 1.0853 Canadian Dollars) (Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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