Icahn and Seneca have spooked Dynegy’s shareholders

Dynegy’s decision to delay for a week the close of voting on its buyout by Blackstone indicates not quite enough shareholders are on board. If they were, the votes would have been tallied on Wednesday, as planned, and the deal completed.

Dynegy says it had to give shareholders more time because Blackstone revised its offer price late on Tuesday, and they needed more time to consider the new offer. But in this world of instant information, anyone involved would have had ample time to learn of the new $5.00 a share offer, up from $4.50, with plenty of time to change their vote.

The reality is that shareholders seem to have been spooked by shareholder dissent by Carl Icahn (pictured) and Seneca Capital, which have bought a combined 22 per cent in Dynegy since the deal was announced. They insist the offer price remains too small – even after it was raised – and have been lobbying for more money.

It is natural that shareholders will want the best deal they can get. But both Mr Icahn and Seneca could have made a move to get control of Dynegy at any point in the past few years. It has been on the market for that long.

The fact that neither did makes their effort now seem like more of an effort to bully Blackstone into paying more for assets that would not fetch any more from another buyer. Nobody else even expressed interest in the company.

And, most important for shareholders to recognise is that, should the deal fall through, there is no guarantee either Mr Icahn or Seneca will stick around to pick up the pieces.

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