Activist investor Barington Capital Group LP on Tuesday revealed it had launched a proxy contest to elect a minority slate of three dissident directors at Omnova Solutions Inc.'s (OMN) eight-person board.
The contest comes only a few days after the dissident investors launched its public campaign at the specialty chemical and decorative laminates company by sending a critical letter urging Omnova's CEO Kevin McMullen to make a divestiture, buy back shares, improve the company's governance and make acquisitions.
Barington, which submitted its nominees to the company late Monday, is seeking to elect the activist fund's founder, Jim Mitarotonda as well as Javier Perez, a former McKinsey & CO. partner with two Chemical engineering degrees. The fund's third nominee is Joseph Gingo, the outgoing CEO of A. Schulman Inc., a supplier of plastic compounds and resin.
Monday was the deadline for submitting nominees for the company's 2015 annual meeting, expected in March or April and The Deal had previously reported that the activist was likely to launch a proxy contest by the deadline.
Barington's letter to McMullen urged the company to retain a financial adviser to consider selling its engineered surfaces division. The unit represents roughly 25% of the company's overall revenue.
A person familiar with the situation said that Barington has been approached by two strategic companies interested in buying all or some of Omnova's engineering surfaces division. He added that a banker has told Barington that a number of strategic businesses are interested in the unit.