Activist investor Carl Icahn had proposed that the world's largest offshore drilling firm, Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG), pay shareholders a one-time dividend of $4 a share and to replace 3 board members with a slate of candidates Icahn supported. Shareholders rejected the dividend proposal, with nearly 75% of those voting refusing to support the proposal.
In something of a face-saving victory, Icahn did manage to put one of his three candidates on Transocean's board. Sam Merksamer will replace board chairman Michael Talbert who had said he would resign from the board even if re-elected. He won't have to write that resignation letter now.
Transocean's CEO told The Wall Street Journal that the company "welcomes" Merksamer to the board and that there won't be any issues with seating the new board member.
At its annual meeting yesterday shareholders did approve a smaller dividend payment of $2.24 a share that had been proposed by Transocean's management and supported by to institutional investors' advisory firms. The dividend will be paid in 4 quarterly installments of $0.56 a share beginning in June.
Shares of Transocean are trading down 1.8% at $53.76 in a 52-week range of $39.32 to $59.50.
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Activist Investor, Corporate Governance, Dividend, Oil & Gas, Shareholder Issues Tagged: featured, RIG