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UK’s FirstGroup faces extra stress over EQT deal By Reuters 



© Reuters.

(Reuters) -FirstGroup’s largest investor on Monday once more requested shareholders of the London-listed transport operator to vote in opposition to the corporate’s sale of two North American bus companies, whereas proxy advisory agency Glass Lewis joined the opposition.

The $4.6 billion sale to Swedish personal fairness agency EQT (NYSE:) Infrastructure has led to a shareholder insurrection after Coast Capital, the British agency’s high investor with a 14% stake, opposed the deal on considerations that it undervalued the property.

“Until the deal phrases are materially improved upon, together with proposed use of proceeds, Coast Capital urges its fellow traders to vote in opposition to this damaging proposal,” the activist investor stated in an announcement on Monday that laid down a rebuttal to the arguments introduced by FirstGroup.

Glass Lewis additionally advisable that traders vote in opposition to the deal at a gathering set for Thursday.

“We are inclined to agree with Coast when it says any sale or carve out of those U.S. companies can be higher finished after a return to normalcy within the U.S., as a way to maximize worth,” it stated in an announcement.

250-listed FirstGroup didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The corporate has stated the deal adopted “a complete and aggressive course of as a way to search the very best value.”

It plans to make use of the proceeds from the deal to pay down debt, contribute to its UK pension schemes and return cash to shareholders.

The sale additionally faces opposition from Schroders (LON:), FirstGroup’s second-largest shareholder with a 12% stake.

Nevertheless, it has the backing of the corporate’s third-largest shareholder, Columbia Threadneedle Investments.

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