Massey Energy investors, including CalSTRS, lost a bid to block Alpha Natural Resources’ more than $7 billion buyout of the coal producer on the eve of a shareholder vote on acquisition.
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in Charleston on Tuesday rejected a request by some Massey shareholders to put off an approval vote on the deal so investors can more thoroughly study Alpha’s cash-and-stock offer. The $155.4 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System, West Sacramento, which invested in the coal company, alleges Massey gave Alpha’s bid preference and failed to properly disclose details on the deal.
“This court does not have jurisdiction to award an injunction in this matter,” the state’s highest court said in a five-page order. Massey shareholders are scheduled to vote Wednesday on Alpha’s offer.
A Massey spokesman, Micah Ragland, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the ruling. Todd Allen, an Alpha spokesman, also didn’t return a call.
Massey has been sued by investors in West Virginia and Delaware over directors’ failure to push managers to improve safety conditions that led to the deaths of 29 workers in April 2010 at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.
Disgruntled shareholders are seeking to hold Massey’s board liable for the more than $25 million in assessed violations by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration the company racked up from the disaster.
Alpha is offering $10 a share in cash plus stock for Massey. Lawyers for the pension fund contend Alpha should pay as much as $1.5 billion more for the coal producer.