Fight for control of Thunderbird erupts as investors urge change – Deadline

The fight for control at the top of Canada’s Thunderbird Entertainment Group has entered its final phase.

Thunderbird’s management is under attack from a key shareholder, Texas hedge fund Voss Capital, who wants to replace the board with others who can “unlock the value” of the Kim’s convenience And Highway through hell Creator.

A second shareholder, Railroad Ranch Capital, also called for a “rigorous strategic review process” after saying Thunderbird’s public valuation does not accurately reflect its success.

Thunderbird’s board released a statement “correcting the record … regarding false statements” made by Voss, which owns 13.3% of the company, last week.

He claims that Voss initiated “a proxy ambush” by appointing an alternate board on the last day he is allowed to. Calling this a “calculated tactic,” the board said it was forced to postpone its annual general meeting until the first quarter of 2023. This was so it could evaluate Voss’s appointments experience and track record and provide shareholders ” all the necessary information”. to decide who would control the company in the future.

Thunderbird’s current board includes CEO Jennifer Twiner McCarron, Lionsgate interim president and former CFO Marni Wieshofer, Lionsgate founder Frank Giustra, and Archie Comics vice president Jerome Levy. Voss wants to replace them with a team that includes former Hot Docs co-president and CBC Chief Business Officer Heather Conway, Voss analyst Taylor Henderson and former Rogers Media executive Shannon Valliant.

Voss had claimed to have the backing of major shareholder Giustra, but has since strongly denied that is the case. He became a stakeholder ten years ago.

Voss says he is “disappointed” with Thunderbird’s strategic direction and the board’s “apparent lack of urgency to create value and lack of responsiveness to shareholder concerns.” He says he “believes in the work that Jen [McCarron] and Thunderbird’s management are doing”, but that “the reluctance to fully explore strategic alternatives” was placing the company at a “significant disadvantage relative to its competitors”.

Vancouver-based Thunderbird countered that claim, saying its stock had “outpaced the market, the industry and its peers.” He pointed to statistics showing the company’s stock price rose 39% from when it began trading in November 2018 until the day before Voss released its statement. During the same period, he said Canadian rivals WildBrain, Boat Rocker Media and VerticalScope Holdings had all seen significant drops in their share price.

In fact, the current share price of C$3.35 ($2.51) is slightly higher than it was four years ago and has fallen well below and at the same time has risen well above that level. . It has declined over the past year, having reached above 5 Canadian dollars in early December 2021.

“Voss is wrong when it says it can unlock value for Thunderbird’s shareholders simply by putting up a ‘for sale’ sign,” Thunderbird said in its statement. “The prospect of a premium is limited not only by the current market environment but also by the trading risk for non-Canadian bidders.”

Thunderbird says Voss is attempting to take over the company without paying a premium and said its candidates are “ill equipped to perform a skilled or comprehensive strategic review process” compared to its own team.

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