Norwegian billionaire John Fredriksen has once again increased his stake in Belgian tanker company Euronav in wake of Frontline’s termination of its combination agreement with the tanker company.
Fredriksen-controlled Frontline plc (NYSE: FRO – OSE: FRO) terminated its merger agreement with Euronav NV (NYSE: EURN) back 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. Euronav last week informed shareholders that is has filed for an application request for emergency arbitration in relation to the termination, while Frontline maintains that it was within its rights to terminate the agreement.
A 13D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today reveals that a company connected to Fredriksen, Famatown Finance Limited, has acquired another 4.6 million additional shares of Euronav, bringing Fredriksen’s stake in the company to 22.62%.
Famatown Finance Limited is indirectly controlled by trusts settled by John Fredriksen for the benefit of Fredriksen’s family.
Last week, 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 intends to seek to replace Euronav’s existing Supervisory Board with members of its own choosing.
Under Belgian law, a minority of shareholding of more than 25% is enough to block a full merger.
The majority of Euronav’s shareholders, including Fredriksen, and its Supervisory Board had supported the combination prior to the termination.
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