HomeStreet in Seattle notches legal victory in fight with activist investor

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HomeStreet in Seattle received an affirming court ruling after months of clashing with an activist investor.

The $6.8 billion-asset HomeStreet said in a press release Monday that the Superior Court of King County had ruled that Blue Lion Capital failed to comply with the banking company’s advance-notice bylaw when it submitted director nominations and shareholder proposals earlier this year.

Blue Lion, which owns about 6% of HomeStreet’s stock, had filed a lawsuit after HomeStreet rejected the nominations and shareholder proposals.

“Blue Lion’s director nominations and proposals for the 2018 annual meeting will be disregarded,” HomeStreet said in a statement. “No proxies in favor of Blue Lion’s nominees or proposals will be recognized and no votes cast in favor of Blue Lion’s nominees or proposals will be tabulated at the 2018 annual meeting.”

Blue Lion has been complaining for months about HomeStreet’s growth strategy, which focuses heavily on bank acquisitions and mortgages. The investor had sought to nominate two board candidates and submit a proposal to separate the roles of chairman and CEO.

“Our bylaws exist for the protection of all HomeStreet shareholders,” HomeStreet said in its release. “The board believes it is important to treat shareholders fairly and equally, with the same rules and deadlines applying to everyone. HomeStreet is committed to engaging constructively with its shareholders, including Blue Lion. The company looks forward to continuing to execute on its strategic plan to maximize long-term shareholder value.”

Sidley Austin and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe represented HomeStreet.

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