Baltimore showdown underway

Shareholder vote

The future of Baltimore Technologies hangs in the balance, with a vote count underway to determine the company's future.

At the former e-security firm's AGM on Monday, several resolutions were put to shareholders, including one initiated by rogue shareholder Acquisitor Holdings, which seeks to replace the entire board of Baltimore with its own appointees. It is the second time that the firm - which owns a quarter of Baltimore's stock - has attempted to remove Baltimore's leadership.

By 4pm on Monday, votes were still being counted. However, earlier on the day, media reports emerged which indicated that Baltimore's board was starting the AGM/EGM at an advantage, with some 90 per cent of postal votes in support of Baltimore's existing board of directors.

Throughout the now bitter fight for control of the company, which is now little more than a cash shell, both Acquisitor and Baltimore have lashed out at one another; the former has claimed that Baltimore's current leadership had destroyed shareholder value, and the latter says Acquisitor is simply looking to takeover the firm without going through the typical acquisition process, or paying a premium to investors.

Even if Baltimore's board does get the backing of shareholders at Monday's meeting, Acquisitor's massive stake in the firm could block Chairman Bijan Khezri from carrying out a plan that seeks to return at least some of Baltimore's £29m cash pile to shareholders. Such a plan would require Acquisitor's approval, and the firm has said it won't give it, nor will it approve Baltimore's recent financial statements, or resolutions regarding directors' remuneration. These roadblocks come after Acquisitor foiled a plan put forward by Baltimore's board earlier this year to become a green energy provider.

For its part, Acquisitor has not said what it would do with Baltimore were it given control, a fact that Baltimore management has capitalised on.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, it emerged that there is still more trouble on the horizon, with onetime Baltimore business partner Earthport alleging that it is owed some £4.5m that it paid to Baltimore in 2001. This claim is in addition to other "substantial" damages that have not yet been revealed.

© ENN

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