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Argo Group hands board seat to activist investment firm Voce Capital

·1 min read

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Argo Group International Holdings handed a board seat to its largest investor on Monday, adding activist hedge fund manager J. Daniel Plants only a few months after announcing a strategic review that could include a sale of the insurance company.

Argo, which underwrites specialty insurance products in the property and casualty market, said it expanded the size of its board by one to nine directors. Plants, who runs Voce Capital Management, will serve on the strategic review and human resources committees.

Thomas Bradley, Argo's chief executive and executive chairman, said Plants brings valuable investor perspective and a unique understanding of the company. Plants said Argo is "deeply undervalued" and that he supports the strategic review process.

Voce owns 9.5% of Argo's shares and has been invested since 2018. Plants has previously pushed Argo to overhaul the board and in 2020 the company added three new directors.

Plants and Voce did not sign a cooperation agreement for Plants to join the Argo board. This is the second time that Voce has gotten a board seat without inking this kind of agreement where the company generally makes concessions to the activist in return for promises of support.

Argo's share price has fallen 42% in the last 52 weeks and in April the company said the board would consider a range of options, including a potential sale, merger or other strategic transaction. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Josie Kao)