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Property developer Shaftesbury in major shareholder dispute

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Samuel Tak Lee, the single largest shareholder of London based and FTSE 250 listed property developer Shaftesbury, is ramping up his dispute with the Shaftesbury board, making it clear his intention to vote against its directors at their forthcoming AGM.

Mr Lee, who has a 26% shareholding in the successful property development company, has gone on record in indicating that he will vote against any resolutions that would result in the issue of new shares as he believes that previous fundraising has damaged shareholder value.

Mr Lee, a Hong Kong billionaire property mogul and landlord now based in London, has amassed a large property empire including the 14 acre Langham Estate in London’s exclusive Fitzrovia. He has also indicated that he will also vote against the reappointment of Shaftesbury’s Chairman, CEO & CFO and oppose director pay packages.

Shaftesbury, which owns large numbers of central London retail property including significant investments in Carnaby Street and Chinatown, raised additional funds in 2017 through the placing of new shares at a 5% discount to the previous day’s closing price. It said the financing would be used to acquire properties including two sites in Soho, but Mr Lee believes that the real reason was to dilute his shareholding below the 25% threshold. Shaftesbury has denied the allegations.

A spokesperson for Mr Lee commented:

There was no economic imperative for the share placement, and there was, as the board had acknowledged in presenting its 2017 results to market analysts only a week before, no need to raise capital in that amount. In doing so, the board has caused significant damage to shareholder value.”

Mr Lee has been urging fellow shareholders to also oppose the resolutions, but it seems likely that investor groups will back the boards decisions at the AGM.

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