You could say both sides melted a little in the ice cream-frozen yogurt proxy battle between Eskimo Pie Corp., Richmond, Va., and Yogen Fruz World Wide Inc., Markham, Ontario.
Yogen Fruz, Eskimo's largest shareholder at 17%, had been waging a proxy fight to oust the company's board and liquidate it.
But shareholders voted to support and keep Eskimo's board, which then announced a plan to maximize shareholder value that it said could include a sale of some or all of the company's assets.
Yogen Fruz took the announcement as a meltdown. "We are pleased that Eskimo's board has heard the voice of the shareholders and has endorsed our strategy of liquidation as the best way to return the highest value to all Eskimo shareholders," said Michael Serruya, co-president and co-chief executive of Yogen Fruz.
Stephen Sears, assistant director of U.S. research for Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy voting and corporate governance advisory firm in Rockville, Md., which had come out in support of Eskimo's board, said, "We felt the incumbent board had done nothing to make us believe they wouldn't act in the best interests of shareholders.
"The incumbent board is very capable and more aligned with shareholders than Yogen Fruz."