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SandRidge Energy, dissident shareholder reach out to employees

SandRidge Energy CEO Tom Ward responded after TPG-Axon Capital wrote a letter to SandRidge employees about its effort to replace the Oklahoma City-based company's board of directors.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: March 6, 2013

The hedge fund led by CEO Dinakar Singh contends SandRidge needs to rein in its spending to create value for its shareholders, who have seen the company's stock price drop 80 percent since its initial public offering in 2007.

“We know that the consent solicitation process has created anxiety and uncertainty among SandRidge employees and the Oklahoma City community,” the hedge fund wrote Tuesday. “Unfortunately, this is somewhat unavoidable, but it is also regrettable, and we wish to assure everyone of our intentions and expected actions.”

The hedge fund said it expects SandRidge to continue supporting Oklahoma City if it manages to gain control of the company.

“To be clear, much of the overhead expense we object to has nothing to do with community support, but rather are enormous expenses directed toward the vanity, privilege and compensation of a few,” the hedge fund wrote in Tuesday's letter.

TPG-Axon wants shareholders to replace Ward and other members of the company's board with its own nominees, including Singh.

SandRidge's board has said the TPG-Axon nominees do not have the necessary qualifications to run the company.

“Your board and management team remain committed to acting in the best interests of SandRidge, our stockholders, our local community and you,” Ward wrote. “Our company is set apart by our track record of working together to create solutions for the benefit of all our shareholders.”

Vote ends March 15

In its letter, TPG-Axon said it recognizes the majority of SandRidge's employees have done their part to create value.

“From Day 1, a primary focus will be on ensuring that the many employees working in the operations of the company are assured of their importance, and secure that they have a stable and promising future with the company,” TPG-Axon wrote.

Still, Womack said he didn't expect the letter to sway many SandRidge shareholders in the ongoing proxy fight.

“I think most people have made up their mind,” he said.

Shareholders have until March 15 to cast their ballots in favor of the current management at SandRidge or TPG-Axon's proposed replacements.

TPG-Axon also has filed a separate proposal to replace three of SandRidge's current board members at this summer's annual meeting of shareholders.


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