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Oct 12, 2018

Detour Gold offers Paulson concession on board, ‘disagreed’ on sale

John Paulson, president of Paulson & Co. Inc.

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In an effort to ease an increasingly acrimonious standoff with one of its investors, Detour Gold Corp. says it’s offering Paulson & Co. a list of concessions, including a spot on the board and a pledge to consider any “new” ideas the hedge fund brings forward.

“We know the heavy expense and distraction of a proxy fight is not in the best interests of Detour Gold,” Detour Chairman Alex Morrison said in a letter dated Tuesday addressed to billionaire John Paulson, which was emailed to Bloomberg. “This is why we are writing to you today with a settlement offer that we believe is fair and reasonable.”

Detour said in a separate statement that Paulson & Co. rejected the offer Friday.

In an emailed response, Paulson & Co. said it had discussions with Detour on Tuesday but the miner failed to engage in good faith. Paulson said it then provided Detour with two settlement alternatives Friday morning. “We have not received a response to our good-faith offer other than through the media.”

‘Strategic Opportunities’

Paulson has been pushing for major changes at Detour, including the possible sale of the company. On that front, Detour “disagreed,” Morrison wrote, but is prepared to add a Paulson nominee to its board, and to provide access to Detour’s financial and legal advisers who can provide insight into the “strategic opportunities” Detour has been working on. “Any new ideas your nominee brings forward will be carefully considered,” he wrote.

Paulson and Detour have been locked in a heated battle for months over how the Toronto-based company, which owns an open-pit mine in northeastern Ontario, should be run.

Highlights of Detour’s letter:

-Paulson nominee can’t be  Marcelo Kim, a partner at the hedge fund, as shareholders have indicated this wouldn’t be acceptable

-That nominee will join key committees with influence on future board appointments and overall strategy Michael Kenyon, the interim CEO, will step down by the 2019

-Annual General Meeting and the Paulson nominee will be part of the search process for a replacement

-Detour would agree to a standard non-disparagement and standstill agreement for 18 months

-Paulson can make periodic presentations on its views to the board during the standstill period

-Detour would drop its civil claim against Paulson

--With assistance from Scott Deveau.