|EQT headquarters in Pittsburgh|
EQT Corp’s board of directors will ask to meet Toby and Derek Rice for talks, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday, after the two brothers threatened the largest producer of natural gas in the United States with a board challenge.
The Rice family sold its company Rice Energy Inc to EQT for $6.7 billion in cash and stock last year. It now owns about 2.75 percent of EQT, and Toby and Derek Rice wrote a letter last week to EQT’s board asking for a “course correction”.
The brothers have also warned EQT that they will nominate their own directors to its board at its next annual shareholder meeting in 2019 if a “mutually agreeable outcome” is not reached.
EQT Chairman Jim Rohr and Chief Executive Rob McNally plan to write to the Rice brothers to ask them to discuss their plans for the company in more detail with the board, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.Click here to continue reading.
And further on this drama, from the Wall Street Journal:
The brothers who sold Rice Energy Inc. to EQT Corp. EQT 2.46% , but are now pushing to take over running the company, laid out their demands for a shake-up and have another activist’s backing in Elliott Management Corp.
Toby and Derek Rice wrote Monday to the natural-gas company that their turnaround plan involves installing Toby Rice as chief executive and replacing board chairman James Rohr and three other directors they propose, according to the letter viewed by The Wall Street Journal. They suggest adding Toby Rice to the board as one of the replacement directors and selecting a mutually agreed-upon chairman.
The two brothers co-founded Rice Energy with their brother Daniel Rice IV, who currently sits on EQT’s 12-person board. The two men would like Mr. Rice IV to remain on the board, according to people familiar with the matter. Toby Rice was chief operating officer of Rice until its $6.7 billion sale to EQT last year and had previously been its CEO.
The former Rice management team has the support of activist hedge fund Elliott and at least two top-10 shareholders listed by FactSet, according to people familiar with the matter. One of them, activist hedge fund D.E. Shaw, came out publicly in support of the Rices last week.Here is the link to that article in its entirety.