Continental Resources shareholders on Friday morning will vote to determine whether the Oklahoma City-based energy company should spend $340 million to buy another firm owned by Continental executives.
But first, U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti on Wednesday will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by a group of shareholders hoping to stop the vote.
The Louisiana Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System filed the suit in June, saying Continental's directors breached their fiduciary duty to the shareholders by agreeing to pay too much for Enid-based Wheatland Oil Co.
Wheatland is 75 percent owned by Continental CEO Harold Hamm and 25 percent owned by Jeff Hume, Continental's vice chairman of strategic growth initiatives.
Continental won a legal victory Friday when DeGiusti denied a request by the shareholders for a temporary restraining order that would have blocked Friday's vote.
The Louisiana retirement system claimed that Continental has not provided its shareholders enough information. DeGiusti disagreed.
“Indeed, a similar argument can be made that the public interest favors the ability of corporations and shareholders to govern their internal affairs without undue interference in advance of an expression of the will of all eligible shareholders through the voting of their shares,” the judge wrote in his order Friday.
Continental praised the judge's decision.
“We are pleased with DeGiusti's very careful and thoughtful opinion,” said Eric Eissenstat, Continental's senior vice president, general counsel and secretary.
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