Seifert lashes out at investor who wrecked his LSE hopes

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The Independent Online

The head of Deutsche Börse, Werner Seifert, yesterday launched a stinging attack on the shareholder behind the revolt that forced him to withdraw his takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange.

The head of Deutsche Börse, Werner Seifert, yesterday launched a stinging attack on the shareholder behind the revolt that forced him to withdraw his takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange.

In a letter to Christopher Hohn, the managing partner The Children's Investment Fund Management, a UK hedge fund, Mr Seifert complained about TCI's tactics during his attempt to acquire the LSE.

Mr Seifert, who has been bitterly disappointed by his second failure in four years to acquire the LSE, said most shareholders had, at least initially, been supportive of the takeover proposal and the indicative price of 530p a share.

He wrote: "Only a handful of our 28,000 shareholders shared your concern that the LSE should not be acquired at any premium ... Most believed a deal at or about our offer price was attractive." He went on to say: "As you can see, it is indeed difficult to develop a strategy that will appeal to all shareholders."

In February, he said, a significant change occurred in the shareholder base with the addition of many new investors from the hedge fund community - notably TCI. TCI teamed up with the US hedge fund Atticus Capital to lead a shareholder revolt against the £1.3bn bid, accusing Mr Seifert of "empire building."

Mr Seifert also rejected TCI's calls for a removal of the German exchange's supervisory board and offered to create a 10-member shareholder committee to improve communication with investors. He wrote: "Your plan for immediate and wholesale change in the composition of our supervisory board sounds to us like change for the sake of change itself rather than change to achieve a specific goal."

TCI has threatened a vote to oust Deutsche Börse's supervisory board at the German exchange's annual meeting on 25 May. In particular, TCI has attacked Rolf Breuer, the chairman of Deutsche Börse's supervisory board for not passing on its views to the board. Mr Seifert called this a "false assertion" and said such attacks reflected a personal, rather than a business, agenda.

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