By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
(Reuters) – Hedge fund Starboard Value LP is close to having eight directors elected to the board of GCP Applied Technologies Inc (N:) at the chemical company’s annual meeting, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
While not all votes have been cast before Thursday’s annual meeting and the result could change, preliminary figures indicate Starboard will see its entire slate elected by GCP shareholders, the sources said.
The sources asked not to be identified before an official announcement. GCP and Starboard did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Bloomberg reported the expected outcome first on Wednesday.
The vote will likely give Starboard control of the board and marks the first time one of the activist investor’s proxy contests has ended in a vote since it made corporate governance history by unseating all 12 directors at Darden Restaurants (NYSE:) in 2014.
GCP and Starboard, which owns 9% of the company, have been locked in an increasingly bitter proxy battle since early April when the hedge fund nominated eight candidates, including Peter Feld, Starboard’s director of research, to the board.
GCP currently has nine board members and will expand the size to 10 at the annual meeting on Thursday. GCP ran a slate of 10 director candidates.
Starboard won significant support for its campaign when Standard Industries, Inc and its affiliated entity 40 North Management LLC, which together own 24.4% of GCP’s stock, backed the activist hedge fund.
With Starboard and 40 North controling nearly one third of the vote, it was a tough battle for the company to win.
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