Casablanca says two proxy firms back its nominees for Cliffs board

July 17 Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:45am EDT

July 17 (Reuters) - Casablanca Capital LP said two independent proxy firms have recommended that shareholders of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc vote in favor of the hedge fund's board nominees.

Cliffs is locked in a proxy battle with New York-based hedge fund Casablanca, which owns 5.2 percent of Cliffs stock and accuses the company of destroying shareholder value.

Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis & Co have issued strong recommendations in support of its campaign for the board changes, Casablanca said in a statement.

Casablanca wants to replace Cliffs' CEO with its own nominee and a majority of board members with its candidates.

The iron ore and metallurgical coal producer offered Casablanca a third of the seats on its board in July in an attempt to settle a "costly and distracting" proxy contest.

The Cleveland-based company's annual meeting is set for July 29. (Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)