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Wayzata Investment Partners gains Star Tribune control

Quick update to Wednesday’s feature on Wayzata Investment Partners, the secretive private-equity firm bidding to become the Star Tribune’s majority owners.

Wayzata’s bid to buy out Credit Suisse and go from 49.8 percent to 58.2 percent ownership could’ve been blocked by two-thirds of the other shareholders. However, according to a shareholder letter, 236,303 shares (about 37 percent) were voted against the sale; 424,677 were required.

Majority control gives Wayzata unilateral rights to appoint the board of directors (which must approve a sale or merger) and change company bylaws. Should Wayzata gain greater than 66.67 percent of the shares, the firm could dissolve shareholder agreements and minority shareholders would lose “tag-along” rights to get their stock purchased in a sale, whenever that comes. That may explain the sizeable (though not sizable enough) objections to the Credit Suisse purchase.

Current Strib board chair Mike Sweeney told me earlier this week Wayzata planned no board or management changes should they top 50 percent. Wayzata has been steadily accumulating shares since the Star Tribune emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

Comments (1)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 08/06/2012 - 07:18 pm.

    This comment from your previous post:

    “Sweeney calls Wayzata “the ideal partner — they’ve never tried to influence news or editorial policy and they have been very supportive of business management as well.””

    strikes me as both dumb and implausible. In what business do venture capitalists not get into the details of their owned properties? Furthermore, they may approve of current management, but probably only because it aligns with their motives. That *is* control.

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