Yowie escapes coup as Bolton and Khan clash over Keybridge

Written on the 5 August 2019 by Matt Ogg

Yowie escapes coup as Bolton and Khan clash over Keybridge

Troubled investment firm Keybridge Capital (ASX: KBC) has been choc-blocked in its attempt to oust chairman Louis Carroll from confectioner Yowie (ASX: YOW), with investors seemingly taking little encouragement from the suitor's own internal conflicts. 

Keybridge, backed by notorious corporate raiders Farooq Khan and Nicholas Bolton, has been attempting to remove key executives at the group as it seeks to grab control of the US-oriented chocolatier.

Along with another fund Aurora, Keybridge was also trying to remove executive director Glen Watts and non-executive director Tim Kestell. The latter resigned just after a month in the job in July, and Watts announced his resignation this morning.

But Carroll was not so quick to back down and survived a shareholder vote at a general meeting today that was 68 per cent in his favour.

The announcement coincided with Keybridge releasing a notice of general meeting to the ASX this morning, dated 1 August, outlining resolutions that put Khan and Bolton at loggerheads over the board's future.

Shares in Keybridge have been suspended from trading since 16 July. 

Khan-controlled Bentley Capital, a 20.7 per cent shareholder in Keybridge, has put forth resolutions to remove the directors John Patton and Jeremy Kriewaldt, both nominees of Bolton's holding company Australian Style Group which owns 22.7 per cent of the entity.

At the same time Bentley has called on shareholders to vote for the re-election of its nominated directors William Johnson and Simon Cato.

Nicholas Bolton is also the CEO of Keybridge, but if Bentley's resolutions are accepted such that its nominees form a majority, it will immediately terminate his services. 

The vote over Keybridge's future will be held at The Park Business Centre in Perth on 25 September.

In the notice the company reiterated its board was "effectively deadlocked" on a range of significant matters relating to the operation of the company and thus, in the opinion of Bentley's nominees it could no longer function effectively.

Keybridge director John Patton is also the managing director of Aurora Funds Management, over which Bolton is being investigated by ASIC as an alleged "shadow manager".

Aurora came under scrutiny today with Wilson Asset Management (ASX: WAM) calling a meeting to remove it as the responsible entity of the HHY fund - a feat it attempted but narrowly failed to achieve a few years ago.

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Business News Australia

 
Author: Matt Ogg

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