(Bloomberg) -- Crystal Amber Fund Ltd., the U.K. activist investor run by Richard Bernstein, is seeking to replace the board of technology incubator Allied Minds Plc after management rebuffed an attempt to discuss the company’s strategy.
Crystal Amber, which has criticized Allied Minds’s executive compensation, is considering calling a shareholder meeting to oust the company’s current directors, Bernstein said in a phone interview Wednesday. The investment firm was due to speak to the joint chief executive officers of Allied Minds on Wednesday but the call was canceled, he said.
Allied Minds’s past compensation packages have rewarded executives for good performance without penalizing them for bad investments, Bernstein said. The company has lost about 89% of its value since the stock’s peak in 2015, giving it a market value of 191 million pounds ($244 million).
“If the new CEOs won’t talk to us, then we will probably have a conversation with all the group’s shareholders,” Bernstein said. “I want to remove the board and replace it with one person with a history of successful orderly realization of assets and return of capital.”
Neil Pizey, head of corporate development at Allied Minds, declined to comment. The company said in April it will cease new investments and focus on maximizing shareholder returns from monetizing its existing portfolio.
Having a single person on the board overseeing the company’s divestments would be much more efficient than the current setup, Bernstein said in the interview. The fund currently owns 4.8% of Allied Minds, according to Bernstein. It needs 5% in order to requisition an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders.
Embattled U.K. fund manager Neil Woodford, who recently froze redemptions at his flagship fund, is Allied Minds’s second-biggest shareholder with a 23% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock picker’s former long-time employer, Invesco Ltd., owns nearly 24%, the data show.
Earlier this week Allied Minds appointed Chief Financial Officer Joseph Pignato and Michael Turner, its general counsel, as co-CEOs. Allied Minds also announced it would scrap its long-term incentive plan and cancel awards planned for issuance in May. Executives will keep past awards, most of which are tied to relative total shareholder return and are worthless at the current share price, Allied Minds said.
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