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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON, April 9 (Reuters) - Proxy advisor Glass, Lewis and Co. on Friday said Blucora, Inc shareholders should vote for the company's directors and reject an activist investor's push to seat four dissident directors and explore strategic alternatives for the tax services business.
Glass, Lewis analysts said dissident investor Ancora Holdings Inc's platform "is significantly weighed down by a hit-or-miss strategic plan and a slate of candidates who, for a variety of reasons, do not clearly offer what we consider to be a superior alternative to the status quo."
Cleveland-based Ancora, which owns a 3% stake in Irving, Texas-based Blucora, in February nominated directors and urged the company to consider alternatives for its tax services business, including a sale.
Blucora's directors responded to the suggestions by noting they had replaced the chief executive and chief financial officers early last year amid concerns about performance, positioned the company's two tax-focused businesses for long-term growth, added four new independent directors in 2020 and 2021, and continued to review alternatives to how the business is currently set up.
"There are a number of issues which ultimately limit our willingness to suggest investors should support the Dissident platform at this time," the Glass, Lewis report said.
Investors often rely on voting recommendations from Glass, Lewis and its bigger rival, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), to make decisions on critical votes for directors or mergers.
ISS has not yet announced its recommendation.
Blucora, which is valued around $817 million, has seen its stock price climb 32% in the last year and 6.5% since January, performing better than sector rivals. It closed at $16.94 on Thursday. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Toby Chopra)