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The committee, composed solely of independent directors, will gauge potential interest from third parties “that maximizes value for shareholders,” the New York-based investment manager said Friday in a statement.
A deal could prove challenging for Sculptor, whose flagship hedge fund is underwater and has grappled with outflows almost every year since 2014. Its stock has lost more than half of its value in 2022.
Och, 61, sued Sculptor in Delaware in August, demanding the firm turn over records that could be used in a substantive lawsuit over Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Levin’s compensation. The parties agreed that Sculptor would provide certain records, and the complaint was dismissed with prejudice.
“We will be supportive of a vigorous, independent, and thorough process that puts shareholders first,” Och said in the statement.
The legal fight centered around Levin’s promotion to CEO and how the board determined his pay, which totaled $145.8 million last year. The dispute took a bitter turn last month, when a filing from Och cited a “personal issue” from Levin’s past.
Levin said in a subsequent statement that in 2002, when he was 19 and a student at Harvard University, he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct.
Read more: Och Dredges Up Levin’s ‘Personal Issue’ in Hedge Fund Fight
The board and special committee “are committed to conducting a process that is fair and in the best interests of shareholders and appreciate Mr. Och and his colleagues’ support for such a process,” Sculptor Chair Marcy Engel said in Friday’s statement.
Shares of Sculptor, formerly known as Och-Ziff Capital Management, surged 17% to $9.95, paring their decline for the year to 53% and leaving the company with a market value of about $572 million.
The special committee retained PJT Partners Inc. as its financial adviser and Latham & Watkins LLP as legal counsel. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was hired to be the financial adviser for Sculptor, according to the statement.
–With assistance from Jef Feeley.
(Updates with closing share price in ninth paragraph.)
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