Over the last few months, Weiss and experienced US-based executive Brad Richmond had been pushing to join the Ardent board. An EGM - called by entities associated with Weiss and Kevin Seymour AM, and scheduled to be held on 4 September - was withdrawn after Ardent agreed to invite Weiss and Richmond to immediately join the board. Ardent also committed to having two existing Ardent non-executive directors step down by no later than Ardent’s 2017 AGM.
Ariadne and its associates have a relevant interest in approximately 10.9 per cent of Ardent’s share capital. On their campaign website, fixardent.com.au, the requisitioning securityholders stated: “We have significant concerns in relation to the manner in which [Ardent] has performed, been managed and been governed in recent years and, as the largest security holder group in Ardent… we feel that change is needed for the future of Ardent… and all its investors”.
Jonathan Wenig commented on ABL’s involvement in the campaign: “Our advice required careful strategic thinking and an understanding of how to effectively agitate for change at board level. We are extremely pleased with the outcome for our clients, who have remained so fiercely passionate about turning around Ardent by improving operational and financial performance and building value for all securityholders”.
Ariadne revealed details of its proposed $1 billion turnaround plan for Ardent in July this year.
Jeremy Lanzer further commented: “Following in the footsteps of the US, Australia is seeing an increased level of shareholder activism, and we expect that this trend will continue as underperforming company boards come under further public scrutiny”.
To read more about the rise of shareholder activism in Australia, read ABL’s 2016 report published in conjunction with Activist Insight.
To read more about this successful activist campaign, refer to the media coverage links below.
- ‘Ardent Leisure turns off EGM, invites new directors’, Australian Financial Review - Street Talk, Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Joyce Moullakis, 3 Sept 2017
- 'Ardent Leisure's capitulation the biggest win by activist investors in decades’, Australian Financial Review - Chanticleer, Tony Boyd, 4 Sept 2017
- ‘Weiss invited on to Ardent Leisure board’, The Australian, Ben Wilmot, 4 Sept 2017.
About Arnold Bloch Leibler
Arnold Bloch Leibler is a premium Australian commercial law firm renowned for advising clients on their most important transactions, commercial issues and disputes. From offices in Melbourne and Sydney, the firm provides advice to a diverse range of entrepreneurial Australian listed companies, family businesses, high-net-worth individuals and international corporations. The firm also has a dedicated pro bono practice providing advice on social, environmental and cultural issues to more than 150 charitable and not-for-profit organisations.