One of SandRidge Energy Inc.'s largest shareholders has turned to a Delaware court in its fight to force a leadership change at the Oklahoma City oil company.
TPG-Axon Capital said Monday it had filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court contesting the validity of the declared consent date set by SandRidge last week.
TPG-Axon is seeking to amend the company's bylaws and replace its current board of directors by enlisting support from other SandRidge shareholders, but CEO Dinakar Singh said the investment firm has not filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to start the consent solicitation.
Singh accused SandRidge CEO Tom Ward of resorting to trickery to confuse shareholders.
“Sadly, we are not surprised that Tom Ward and the board of directors have resorted to shameful tricks to try and confuse shareholders and shorten the period of time in which they have to vote,” Singh said.
“The actions Tom and the board have taken over the past several weeks reek of desperation and clearly illustrate their complete disregard for shareholder interests and transparency.
“Instead of limiting shareholders' ability to have their say, the board should be focused on exploring all strategic alternatives to maximize value.”
Singh also accused Ward of benefiting from his personal dealings with the company.
SandRidge did not respond to a request for comment by Monday afternoon.
TPG-Axon, which owns 6.7 percent of SandRidge's stock, is pushing to revamp the company's leadership to maximize its value.
Singh said the 5 percent drop in SandRidge's stock last week after the announcement of the company's $2.3 billion sale of much of its Permian Basin holdings is proof the market has lost faith in SandRidge's executives.
“We believe it is because investors fear that any cash the company receives will be taken or squandered by Mr. Ward,” he wrote Monday in a letter to SandRidge's board.
TPG-Axon needs support from more than 51 percent of its fellow shareholders to enact the desired changes at the company.
Another institutional investor, equity firm Mount Kellett Capital Management LP, has urged SandRidge to replace Ward. It contends the company's stock is vastly undervalued.
SandRidge was down 1 cent in trading Monday, closing at $6.25.
Mount Kellett, which owns about 4.5 percent of the company's stock, has said SandRidge should be worth $20 a share.