TCI Fund Management Ltd. will continue its campaign to replace the chief executive officer and several directors of Canadian National Railway Co. despite the railway’s decision to drop its $30 billion bid for Kansas City Southern.
“While CN ultimately made the right decision to not continue its ill-fated pursuit of Kansas City Southern, the fact the company made such an ill-advised bid in the first place exposed a basic misunderstanding of the railroad industry,” London-based TCI, managed by Chris Hohn, said in an email.
Kansas City Southern said Wednesday it had terminated a deal with Montreal-based Canadian National that had run aground after U.S. regulators rejected a key provision. The U.S. railway instead agreed to be acquired by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. for $27 billion, ending a monthslong battle.
TCI is in the unusual position of being a significant investor on both sides of the takeover battle: it owns 8.4% of Canadian Pacific, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
TCI, which owns more than 5% of Canadian National, is planning a proxy fight with a goal of ejecting four board members and CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest, potentially replacing him with former Union Pacific Corp. executive Jim Vena.
“Without much needed change on the board and in management, TCI believes the company’s operational and financial performance will continue to suffer to the detriment of CN shareholders,” the fund said.
Canadian National will get a $700 million break fee because of the collapse of its Kansas City Southern agreement, and will also get a refund of $700 million it had already paid to the U.S. railroad.