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Push to Break Up Cliffs Natural Resources Turns Hostile

The fund's co-founders -- Donald G. Drapkin, chairman, and Douglas Taylor, CEO -- met in the investment banking division at Lazard (LAZ). In an interview with TheStreet, Taylor characterized Casablanca's experience with M&A transactions and the like as a positive as it worked to make an impact in the world of activist investing.

Drapkin was a long-time top lieutenant to Ronald Perelman and helped the buyout billionaire's holding company McAndrews & Forbes structure some of its biggest acquisitions such as the takeovers of Marvel comics, Revlon and AlliedBarton Security Services. Prior to his 20-year career at McAndrews & Forbes, Drapkin was a partner in the M&A department at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Between 2007 and 2010, Drapkin was vice chairman of Lazard International and was chairman of the firm's investment committee.

At Lazard, Drapkin met Taylor, a long-time banker at the firm who was also one of Bruce Wasserstein's first hires after he became CEO of the boutique investment bank in the early 2000s. Some of Casablanca's partners such as Gregory S. Donat, also trace their roots to Lazard.

CEO Taylor said in his interview with TheStreet that Casablanca's favorite outcome was "to have an engaging and constructive dialogue" with a company's management. In that sense, the fund appears to be onto its Plan B for Cliffs Natural Resources.

For more on Casablanca Capital, see TheStreet's Feb3. report on the fund and its history.

-- Written by Antoine Gara

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