Norwegian billionaire John Fredriksen has increased his stake in Belgian tanker company Euronav in wake of Frontline terminating its combination agreement with the tanker company.
As gCaptain has reported, Fredriksen-controlled Frontline plc (NYSE: FRO – OSE: FRO) terminated its merger agreement with Euronav NV (NYSE: EURN) on January 9, ending a deal to create the world’s largest publicly-listed oil tanker owner and operator in which Frontline would become the majority owner.
Euronav has rejected the termination, accusing Frontline of failing to provide a good reason for canceling their binding merger agreement and says it’s considering all options including litigation.
A 13D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday now reveals that a company connected to Fredriksen, Famatown Finance Limited, has acquired more than 5 million additional shares of Euronav, bringing its stake to almost 40.1 million shares representing 20.31% of Euronav’s outstanding shares.
Famatown Finance Limited is indirectly controlled by trusts settled by John Fredriksen for the benefit of Fredriksen’s family.
To make matters more interesting, on Tuesday Euronav’s largest shareholder, the Saverys family-controlled Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB), which controls more than 25% of the Euronav and has sought to quash the combination, requested to convene a general shareholders meeting during which CMB will seek to replace Euronav’s existing Supervisory Board with members of its own choosing. According to Belgian law, the meeting must take place within three weeks.
With Fredriksen’s intentions unclear, this on-going saga will continue to be something to watch.
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