Activist investors have won control of the EQT Corp. board, bringing to an end a nine-month battle for the largest U.S. natural gas producer, Bloomberg reports.
Brothers Toby and Derek Rice, who sold Rice Energy Inc. to EQT about two years ago and own 3 percent of the shares, won seven seats on the 12-member board, based on preliminary tallies, according to Bloomberg. The new board is expected to name Toby Rice as CEO. All 12 elected directors won more than 80 percent of the votes cast.
The brothers have argued the U.S. gas explorer has underperformed since it bought Rice Energy. According to Bloomberg, the Rices plan to replace the general counsel and add a chief information officer and chief human resources officer. Toby Rice said the company will remain focused on Appalachia’s Marcellus Shale.
Bloomberg reports that the brothers garnered the support of the company’s largest shareholder, T. Rowe Price Group Inc. in their battle to revamp the board. They also won backing from several other investors, including D.E. Shaw & Co., Kensico Capital Management Corp. and Elliott Management Corp. The push for change was supported by prominent shareholder advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., while another advisory firm, Glass Lewis & Co., threw its support behind management.