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Norway's Norges Bank Investment Management to back Kohl's nominees in proxy fight

By Reuters

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

NEWYORK – Norway’s sovereign wealth fund said on Friday that it plans to vote for Kohl’s board directors, backing management in a hotly contested corporate battle with hedge fund Macellum Advisors.

Norges Bank Investment Management detailed its intentions in a table on its website. It plans to vote for the 13 nominees presented by the retailer and does not intend to vote for any of the 10 director candidates nominated by activist investment firm Macellum Advisor.

Investors will be able to vote at the May 11 meeting. Norges owned 1.49 million shares or 1.16% of the company at the end of December, according to Refinitiv data.

Norway’s announcement comes on the heels of a similar announcement last month when T. Rowe Price Associates, one of the biggest investors in Kohl’s Corp, said it plans to back all of the department store’s directors.

Macellum, led by Jonathan Duskin, has accused Kohl’s of not doing enough to improve its business. The fund called for the company to put itself up for sale, which it is now doing by reviewing potential bidders.

The battle for control of Kohl’s boardroom has become one of this year’s most contentious proxy battles and occurs as the company is reviewing bids from potential buyers.