Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is calling on Kansas City Southern shareholders to vote against a US$30 billion merger proposal from Canadian National Railway Co.
Kansas City Southern investors should reject the deal at an Aug. 19 meeting so that the proposed acquisition can be decided later, Canadian Pacific said in a regulatory filing Thursday.
“CP would have preferred not to appeal directly to KCS’s stockholders, but given the impending vote on CN’s proposal, we believe we have no choice,” Canadian Pacific Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel said in a statement. “A ‘yes’ vote now would lock KCS stockholders in until February 2022, instead of their being free to consider other, better, options.”
Canadian National is awaiting approval from U.S. regulators to use a voting trust to purchase Kansas City Southern. The U.S. carrier had demanded the use of a trust, a means to pay shareholders even before the deal gets a final antitrust nod. The Surface Transportation Board has already cleared Canadian Pacific’s use of a trust.
The takeover battle will determine which Canadian company will become the first railroad to have tracks through Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Kansas City Southern gets about half its revenue from Mexico, which is poised for an investment surge as companies seek to shorten supply lines that stretch to Asia.
“KCS stockholders should be aware that voting to approve the CN-KCS merger while there is this level of regulatory uncertainty comes with severe consequences that are not in the KCS stockholders’ best interests,” Canadian Pacific said.