It’s not just John Howard who cold calls people when he needs a vote. An AGL shareholder has emailed through the following:

I just got a phone call from AGL – it was a
recorded message from chairman and Macquarie Bank co-founder Mark Johnson about the Alinta takeover bid.

He opened up by saying AGL have their de-merger proposal on the table
which they believe is in the best interests of shareholders, and now
Alinta (he failed to point out they were advised by his department at
Macquarie Bank, has come along with a proposal which is “complex and
incomplete”.

The thrust of the message was that shareholders
should sit tight for the time being, and he’ll be writing to us
shortly. Last week, a real live human left a message on my
answering machine on behalf of AGL and the woman was pushing similar lines.

Takeover battles aren’t what they used to
be!

Of course, we’ll never again see anything like Solomon
Lew’s 2002 proxy campaign to stay on the Coles Myer board when he
distributed his own proxy and how to vote card and even flew them from
Sydney to Melbourne on his private jet just before the deadline for
voting.

You had to feel sorry for poor old Computershare which had to process
200,000 of these in 24 hours. Then again, Computershare now owns the
world’s best known proxy solicitation business, Georgeson Shareholder
Services, so they are probably co-ordinating this latest AGL push, just
like they handled Rupert’s move to America vote, AMP’s tilt at GIO,
Xstrata’s bid for MIM and Solly’s unsuccessful Coles Myer defence.

Peter Fray

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