Olshan Represents Activist in First Successful Use of a Universal Proxy Card for a Control Slate in the United States
The Deal and several other media outlets reported that the Shareholder Activism Practice represented shareholders at EQT Corporation (“EQT”) in a landmark proxy contest involving the use of a universal ballot, a first in the United States involving a control slate of directors, in which all of the company and dissident’s nominees appeared on their respective proxy cards. EQT overwhelmingly voted for a control slate of directors nominated by a shareholder group led by Toby Z. Rice, Derek Rice, Will Jordan and Kyle Derham (the “Rice Team”). EQT is the largest natural gas producer in the United States, and in November 2017, the Rice Team sold the company they had founded, Rice Energy, to EQT, for approximately $6.7 billion. Unfortunately, within a year following the acquisition, EQT’s operational performance severely declined, with its shares falling 39% last year. Despite efforts to engage with EQT privately, the Rice Team’s offers to help were rebuffed, forcing the Rice Team to call for the replacement of the CEO and nominate a control slate of directors. According to Proxy Insight, the EQT battle was the second largest contest overall to go the distance in 2019. The Olshan team included Shareholder Activism Co-Chair Steve Wolosky and partner Elizabeth Gonzalez-Sussman. View our client alert on the unprecedented use of a universal ballot for a majority slate of directors.