Disgruntled Hibu shareholders take action
Hibu shareholders warn of a fight back after shares suspension
July 26, 2013, London, UK. Press Dispensary. Following disintegration of the price of shares in Hibu plc, a significant group of shareholders has formed the Hibu Shareholders Group (HSG). Subsequent to yesterday's announcement that trading in Hibu shares had been suspended, HSG has this afternoon issued an open letter warning of "very grave concerns over the way the business has been run" and serving notice of likely future legal action against the Hibu board of directors.
we give the board fair warning that it now has a fight on its hands
Hibu plc yesterday suspended share trading from 7.30am as it headed towards a restructuring that will see its lenders take control of the company. Hibu chairman, Bob Wigley, warned in a letter published yesterday on the Hibu website, that "On completion of the restructuring the shares of hibu plc will cease to be listed on the Official List and cease to trade on the London Stock Exchange".
Today's open letter from HSG, issued by investment banker Craig Beevers, spokesman for the Hibu Shareholders Group, states: "We have very grave concerns over the way the business has been run and will be asking the board to demonstrate that they have acted in our best interests throughout this process" and warns that "we have been amassing evidence to support our concern that the Board of Directors have misled investors, taken actions that engineered the event of default which caused creditors to enforce their security and delayed launching new products to suppress the share price".
we are currently receiving 70 emails an hour from disgruntled shareholders
Craig Beevers said: "If handled more competently, we think that the death of the current Hibu shares was entirely avoidable. The board of directors will need to prove to us that it acted in the interests of shareholders and not just the self-interest of the directors, which is how it seems to us. This situation is completely unacceptable and we give the board fair warning that it now has a fight on its hands."
He added: "The Hibu Shareholders Group represents holders of more than 400 million shares and is growing rapidly - we are currently receiving 70 emails an hour from disgruntled shareholders. We are sure there will be many more shareholders who still wish to join us and invite them to write to us at . We are also in the process of contacting institutional shareholder to coordinate actions between us. All shareholders will be verified by our solicitors, who will offer anonymity for individual shareholders."
The full text of the shareholders' letter follows:
I am writing on behalf of the Hibu Shareholders Group (HSG). We are a group of private investors who all hold shares in Hibu plc (part of Yell plc).
As you will be aware, the market value of the Hibu share price has plummeted in recent years from a high of almost 600p, ultimately ending up worthless today after the shares have been suspended. This is prior to a restructuring in which the company's lenders are expected to take control of the company, with shares ceasing to trade.
We feel that the Board of Directors at Hibu have not acted in the best interests of shareholders over this restructuring, and in our opinion many statements made have been made to deliberately mislead investors.
Since HSG was established, we have been amassing evidence to support our claim that the Board of Directors have misled investors, taken actions that engineered the event of default which caused creditors to enforce their security and delayed launching new products to suppress the share price.
We have very grave concerns over the way the business has been run and will be asking the board to demonstrate that they have acted in our best interests throughout this process. In particular, we note that they have paid themselves bonuses from shareholder funds and appear to have negotiated themselves new contracts with the creditor group. We will need comfort that throughout this process it was shareholder interests and not self interest that was uppermost in their minds.
During this time they have received bonuses for running a company into the ground and all existing executive directors will become executive directors of the new company. This has left investors, many of whom had invested in the last rights issue at 42p, with holdings that are today worth nothing.
At this time we cannot divulge the evidence we have accumulated as this is confidential and we will be relying on this as we pursue legal action.
We are also looking into the conduct of the FSA/FCA after many shareholders made them aware of our concerns over the last 2 years only to have our concerns and correspondence completely ignored.
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Notes for editors
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