It looks like last month’s release of a nearly 6,700-word long letter from Voce Capital Management LLC was just the beginning of the tussle between Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. and its activist shareholder.
In February Insurance Business brought you the assertions from the two camps; now more has come from both sides and here we give you the lowdown on what appears to be a looming proxy battle.
First off, the US-based investment adviser has now put forward its board nominees, which it described as having “the right mix of domestic and international insurance industry experience, corporate governance credibility, and track records of successful capital allocation oversight to help ‘right the ship’ at Argo.”
Also, Voce has unveiled a dedicated website called Argo-SOS for its ‘shareholder value’ campaign against the Bermuda-headquartered underwriter.
In a statement, it added: “In the nearly two weeks since our public letter, the company has failed to meaningfully address a single one of the many examples of misuse of corporate assets that we painstakingly researched and chronicled.”
As previously reported, the letter criticized Argo’s capital expenditures and drew particular attention to CEO Mark E. Watson III and his supposed perks and extravagances.
Meanwhile Voce has announced its intention to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission a definitive proxy statement and accompanying form of proxy to be used in connection with the solicitation of proxies from the members of Argo.
In response, the insurer said its board of directors – which it called “highly capable and engaged” – is committed to working in the best interest of all shareholders. Argo added that it hopes Voce will make its nominees available to participate in interviews with the board’s independent nominating committee.
It stated: “While Voce Capital Management LLC continues to disseminate and publish ad hominem attacks, our directors and management team are focused on executing a compelling long-term, value-enhancing strategy. We are deliberate in our mission to deliver top-performing underwriting businesses and we continue to be keenly focused on driving efficiencies…”