The trust also hired a public relations firm and proxy contest lawyers, paid for advertisements in support of Cook, and launched a website, TrustTPL.com, to state the case for keeping the trust intact.
Kai Liekefett, Texas Pacific Land Trust’s attorney, blamed the proxy fight on the rise of investor activists — the hedge funds and other large investors who take large stakes in companies and pressure management to take steps to boost share prices. The hedge funds, he said, are interested in selling the water business or even the entire trust to reap a short-term financial windfall.
“It makes perfect sense for them. It may not make sense for the other 75 percent of shareholders who enjoy the out-performance and ongoing appreciation,” said Liekefett, who recently represented financially struggling Luby’s in the Houston restaurant operator’s fight against a hedge fund. “This is not mere luck. This is the result of very seasoned and strategic leadership.”