Baltimore power struggle escalates

5 May 2004

Internet security firm turned green energy provider Baltimore has declared invalid five proposed board nominations by Acquisitor Holdings, a minority shareholder.

Acquisitor was due to formally nominate the five executives at an extraordinary general meeting due to be held tomorrow at Acquisitor’s request. However, in a statement yesterday, the Baltimore board said it had received no formal notification from Acquisitor of the willingness of the five to serve as directors of the company. Baltimore said it had taken legal advice which stated that Acquisitor’s resolutions to appoint the five were invalid and that the resolutions could not therefore be put to shareholders at tomorrow’s meeting.

The Baltimore board said it would also be recommending to shareholders that they vote against Acquisitor’s resolution to vote out the existing Board of Directors at the meeting.

The egm is likely to be a defining event in the ongoing power struggle between Baltimore, the former dotcom star which lately reinvented itself as a green energy business, and the aptly named Acquisitor, which has gradually been building up its shareholding in the company, which currently stands at 16.01pc of issued share capital. Baltimore has so far resisted its advances, citing the lack of a viable business plan that would also be in shareholders’ interests.

Baltimore has also made formal complaints to the Financial Services Authority about what it alleges are dirty dealings on Acquisitor’s part, specifically the practice of being publicly critical about Baltimore to drive the share price down and then buying substantial amounts of stock.

Following the completion of the disposal of Baltimore Technologies’ core PKI business on 2 December 2003, the group’s assets consist primarily of £37m sterling in cash.

By Brian Skelly