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Judge denies bid to delay Forest City shareholder vote

November 14, 2018

Judge denies bid to delay Forest City shareholder vote

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A shareholder vote on the sale of Forest City Realty Trust, Inc., will take place as planned Thursday morning, after a federal court judge rejected a former chief executive officer’s request for a delay.

On Wednesday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Boyko denied Albert Ratner’s motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent Forest City from holding a special shareholder meeting this week. Stockholders are set to weigh in on the proposed sale of the Cleveland-based company to an affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management of Toronto.

In a three-page order, Boyko wrote that Ratner, the 90-year-old former CEO, shareholder and member of the company’s founding family, failed to prove his case for urgent action. Ratner filed his lawsuit late Monday, alleging that Forest City failed to provide shareholders with complete and accurate information about the Brookfield deal and the process that led to it.

Ratner had asked the judge to push off the special meeting and vote until 30 days after Forest City mailed out a corrected proxy statement to shareholders.

After a Wednesday morning conference with attorneys for both sides, Boyko wrote that Ratner didn’t prove he has a strong likelihood of success or that allowing the vote to happen Thursday will cause irreparable harm.

The judge will issue a more-detailed opinion at a later date. But the immediate question - the one that was causing consternation at Forest City’s headquarters downtown and in the offices of Wall Street analysts and onlookers - is settled.

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