(Bloomberg) -- Dan Och is escalating his fight with Sculptor Capital Management Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Levin, deepening the fissures in the relationship with his former protege and putting the publicly traded hedge fund firm in play.
Och, who co-founded Sculptor before stepping down as CEO in 2018, said he and other founding partners have been asked whether the firm might be open to a strategic transaction “that would not involve current senior management continuing to run the company,” according to a letter to Sculptor’s board that was disclosed Tuesday in a regulatory filing.
Sculptor responded in a regulatory filing that Och immediately share details of any third-party inquiries and said the board has at all times adhered to the “highest fiduciary standards.”
Och, one of Sculptor’s biggest shareholders, has railed against his former firm, previously known as Och-Ziff. In August, he and other former executives sued the money manager over Levin’s compensation, which last year exceeded what was paid to leaders of Wall Street’s biggest banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Sculptor said then that the lawsuit was “full of falsehoods.”
Read more: Hedge Fund Sculptor Calls Och’s Lawsuit ‘Full of Falsehoods’
In the letter, Och called Sculptor “an attractive target for a well-managed” firm that could help fuel growth and “new, prudent” leadership.
“It is not surprising that third parties would see the potential for such a transaction given that outside analysts have previously identified the company’s management issues and concluded that, at its current trading price, the company may be worth less than the sum of its parts,” he wrote.
Sculptor rose 19% to $11.17 in New York, paring this year’s decline to 48%. Still, it’s down almost 97% from its 2007 peak, shortly after it went public.
Och added in the letter that he believes one or more members of Sculptor’s senior management reached out to at least one interested party about a possible deal.
“Based on prior experience, I fear that the board may not be aware of this outreach,” he wrote. “I strongly suggest that the board take complete control of this process.”
Sculptor said in its filing “that in all respects there is no daylight between the board and management with regard to material happenings at the company.”
(Updates to include Sculptor’s response starting in third paragraph)
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