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Shareholder Rejects Stillwater Mining Settlement Offer

The tit-for-tat sniping between platinum group metals miner Stillwater Mining (NYSE: SWC  ) and activist shareholder Clinton Group continues after the latter rejected a settlement offer and sought to give its own interpretation of statements the miner made.

With an annual shareholders meeting set for today where investors are to decide whether to replace eight of Stillwater's board members with a slate chosen by Clinton, Stillwater said in a press release yesterday that it offered to include four of Clinton's nominees and four of Stillwater's nominees, as well as separating the roles of chairman and CEO. The newly constituted board would then immediately select someone to serve as chairman and engage in a search for a new CEO. The miner says the shareholder group rejected the offer.

In a competing press release, Clinton Group said the offer Stillwater made was presented only after the miner kept itself unavailable for 24 hours beforehand and suggested only a vague proposal five minutes before its representatives were due to board a plane to travel to the shareholder meeting. It said Stillwater's statement was then released knowing Clinton's representatives would be unable to easily respond.

Even so, Clinton says the proposal is unworkable because it would create a board that would likely be deadlocked and remain evenly split on issues needed to change the company's direction. The group also said Stillwater's CEO was angling to remain at the position and had no intention of stepping aside.

Recently, investor advisory firm Glass Lewis recommended investors elect three of Clinton Group's  nominees while Institutional Shareholder Services recommended electing four of them.

Shareholders of record as of March 6 are entitled to vote at today's meeting.

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