Bloomberg’s Matt Levine Covers TPL

When is a shareholder meeting not a shareholder meeting?

But it’s a pretty solid polling result for Oliver, and if TPL ever does get around to holding the shareholder meeting, it seems likely that Oliver will win. So it is not clear what they gain by postponing the meeting and suing. They have a good legal argument that Oliver did not hold a valid meeting or win a valid election, but as a matter of shareholder democracy he seems to have the support of the trust’s investors, so fighting him forever is a bad look. The dissidents’ main complaint about the current board is that its governance isn’t great and it isn’t responsive to shareholders. When the board cancels and ignores a shareholder vote, that kind of makes Oliver’s point for him.

On the other hand, it’s not all that clear what Oliver would gain by winning. He’d only get one of three seats. On May 8, TPL’s two trustees sent some of the dissident shareholders an email (which was marked “privilege/confidential,” and which the dissidents promptly published, heh) saying “even if you’d prevail in the election contest, you could not achieve any of your ultimate goals without our cooperation until another vacancy opens up (and it may be another decade until that happens).” Not wrong! Perhaps the upshot here is that Oliver will be elected and will just show up to meetings to annoy the other trustees until one of them dies. It could take a while.

One of three seats and a big shining spot light.