INM shareholders reject O'Brien's bid to unseat two senior board members

SHAREHOLDERS in Independent News &amp; Media (INM) yesterday voted against rebel investor Denis O&rsquo;Brien&rsquo;s attempt to unseat Brian Hillery as chairman of the highly-indebted media group.<br /><br />In the first of three extraordinary general meetings that will decided the future of The Independent publisher, 65 per cent of shareholders voted with the board to keep Hillery. <br /><br />Baroness Jay will also remain in place as senior independent director, after 65 per cent voted against O&rsquo;Brien&rsquo;s bid to have her removed.<br /><br />O&rsquo;Brien is INM&rsquo;s second-largest shareholder, with a 26 per cent holding. In September, he requisitioned an EGM to put several resolutions to the vote, including his proposals to sell INM&rsquo;s UK titles.<br /><br />The battle between O&rsquo;Brien and the board centres around the publisher&rsquo;s planned financial restructuring of a &euro;200m (&pound;180m) bond. On 10 November, INM will meet with bondholders to finalise the details of a debt-for-equity swap which will hand lenders a 45 per cent stake in the company.<br /><br />INM will also hold two more EGM&rsquo;s this month to vote on other elements of the restructuring, including the sale of its South African operation, INM Outdoor, and the issuance of new equity to raise cash. The money raised will be used to pay down around &pound;313m of INM&rsquo;s &pound;1.2bn debt, securing the short-term future of the group.