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Bwin.party Settles With Ader After Board Shakeup

Bwin.party announced that it had settled its dispute with activist investor Jason Ader, just days after three of its board members, including co-founder Manfred Bodner (l.), stepped down after an independent review. Ader will get at least one of his nominees on a revamped board as the company tries to halt a free-fall in its stock price.

After a contentious week that saw three members of bwin.party’s board step down after an independent evaluation ordered by new chairman Philip Yea, the company reached an agreement with activist investor Jason Ader to reshape the board.

One of those who stepped down was Manfred Bodner, a co-founder of the company.

Ader’s hedge fund, SpringOwl Asset Management, has acquired about 5 percent of the company and has been urging stockholders to approve a major revamp of the company’s board saying the company is not providing the return it should. He had proposed remaking the board with four of his nominees, but the final agreement has placed  SpringOwl President Daniel Silvers on the board, and the company said it would consider placing Ader nominee Michael B. Fertik, chief executive and founder of Reputation.com, on the board as a replacement for one of the three departed members.

“I am pleased to be able to demonstrate common ground with SpringOwl and welcome its support,” said Yea.

Bodner, a co-founder of the bwin half of bwin.party, will remain as a paid consultant and Deputy Chairman Rod Perry will leave once a successor can be found. Audit & Risk Committee chairman Helmut Kem will step down after the 2015 AGM.

The company said the evaluation had found “no material adverse findings,” but said the changes were necessary due to “the increasing complexity of the group’s business and regulatory environment.”

The company has appointed Spencer Stuart, a leading executive search firm, to conduct an international search to identify suitable candidates to join the board.

Ader conducted a similar activist campaign against slot manufacturer IGT and won a similar settlement, also landing Silvers on that board.