SHORT HILLS, N.J. - Star manager Michael Price succeeded in getting an independent director elected to the board of troubled Telephone and Data Systems Inc., New York.
Shareholders elected Mr. Price's candidate, Martin L. Solomon, by a 78% margin. He opposed George Off, a candidate nominated by the TDS board.
This latest victory represents a little twist on Mr. Price's usual approach. Mr. Price is well known for his vulture investment tactics, in which he and other portfolio managers at Franklin Mutual Advisers Inc. take an activist stance as shareholders in troubled and bankrupt companies, occasionally making direct loans to management. But this is the first time he has tried and succeeded in getting a hand-picked director elected to the board of a company in which he's interested.
Mr. Price told attendees at Morningstar Inc.'s annual conference in Chicago that one of the benefits of attracting a bigger asset pool since his company's acquisition by Franklin Templeton, San Mateo, Calif., has been increased shareholder clout. "You have to get creative with how you use the money you're getting in. You have a lot more clout with 5 million shares, for example, than you do with just 500,000," he said.
Franklin Mutual holds a 9.8% stake in TDS within its mutual funds.
TDS stock has been on the skids since its October 1993 high of about 57 per share, trading at 38 3/16 as of June 25. Shareholders have been unhappy about the wireless telephone company's continued practice of making stock financed acquisitions and the poor performance of its American Paging division.
Dreman agrees to contract
RED BANK, N.J. - Dreman Value Management L.L.C. said June 25 that it agreed to another five-year contract to subadvise the $1.9 billion Kemper-Dreman High Return Equity Fund, subject to approval by shareholders.
David Dreman, chairman and controlling stockholder of his old firm, Dreman Value Advisors, will remain the fund's portfolio manager. There had been speculation Dreman would not remain the fund's subadviser.
DVM was registered as an investment adviser with the SEC in April. Under the terms of its agreement with Zurich Kemper, DVM will have exclusive use of the Dreman name, except for the Kemper-Dreman High Return Equity Fund.
New York-based Dreman Value Advisors Inc., which was purchased by the parent company, will be renamed Zurich Kemper Value Advisors Inc. and Mr. Dreman will resign as chairman of the company. The Kemper-Dreman Contrarian and the Kemper-Dreman Small Cap funds will drop Dreman from their names.
Fund closed again after 2 days
HOUSTON - The AIM Management Group Inc. closed its top-performing $3.3 billion Aggressive Growth Fund June 5, just two days after reopening it to new investors. The fund attracted $688 million in the two days. A company spokesman, Ivy McLemore, said the fund's management team has been able to put most of the money to work in new investments; the fund now has a 7% cash position, which is in its normal range.
The fund was the No. 1 performing aggressive growth fund over the last five years, according to Lipper Analytical Services Inc., New York. The fund attracted $1 billion in two days the last time it reopened to new investors in July 1995.
On-line transactions offered
VALLEY FORGE - The Vanguard Group of Investment Cos. now offers retail shareholders transaction capabilities on the Internet. 401(k) and 403(b) plan which use Vanguard for record keeping will be offered similar services later this year. Account holders can exchange shares between most, but not all, Vanguard mutual funds. Vanguard officials said the system uses a stringent methodology to insure account security, based on password technology.
First Data services tapped
WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. - Insight Management Inc. hired First Data Investor Services Corp., Boston, to provide distribution and back-office services for its new family of mutual funds, the Kobren Insight Funds.
The three fund-of-funds are managed by Fidelity watcher Eric Kobren. Mr. Kobren is editor and publisher of Fidelity Insight, a newsletter devoted to Fidelity funds.
Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management Inc., New York, also hired First Data to provide transfer agent services for Mitchell Hutchins Liquid Institutional Reserves. The LIR funds are three money market funds designed to meet the short-term cash needs of institutional clients.
BISYS, Confluence alliance
LITTLE FALLS, N.J. - The BISYS Group Inc. formed an alliance with Confluence Technologies Inc., Pittsburgh, to streamline mutual fund services.
BISYS will use Confluence's FundStation software to support clients of its fund services division, which provides outsourced fund administration and accounting services to proprietary mutual fund families.
FundStation collects, calculates and distributes rates of return, yields and end-of-day fund information to clients and reporting agencies. BISYS will use the new system for more than 700 classes of funds.