Dinn, Hochman & Potter, LLC

Shareholder disputes can adversely affect Ohio business

Company growth, profits and stability are vital to many Ohio companies. As the company grows, it may decide that adding shareholders will afford the company the resources and experience needed for future growth and profitability. In many instances, this addition proves to be an asset to the company; however, as with most changes, there can be obstacles. It is possible that these obstacles can be in the form of shareholder disputes.

Campbell's Soup has recently found itself at the center of a shareholder dispute. Amid lower than anticipated earnings, one of its shareholder groups began an attempt to force the sale of the company. When it became obvious that this attempt would fail, the group then began working to add members of its group to the current Campbell's Board of Directors. The various factions have come to an agreement in which two members of the shareholder group have been added to the board.

It appears that the shareholder group quietly obtained a 7 percent interest in the company earlier in the year. Following the sudden departure of the company's CEO, they began their endeavors and even gained the support of at least one Campbell's family member. However, other family members were not persuaded and successfully blocked the attempted sale of the company.

Shareholders can offer needed resources to the Ohio company. Yet, they also offer the opportunity for shareholder disputes which may have an adverse effect upon the company. Prior to opening the company up to shareholders and then again when there appears to be questions regarding shareholder intentions, it may be in the company's best interest to consult with legal counsel.

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