Home Capital Group Inc. shareholders will decide whether the alternative mortgage lender’s biggest investor and marquee backer Warren Buffett should be allowed to buy a bigger piece of the pie in a special meeting set for Sept. 12, according to a regulatory filing.
The meeting will be held in Toronto, and shareholders of Canada’s biggest non-bank lender as of Aug. 8 will be able to participate, according to the filing posted Monday.
Home Capital announced on June 21 that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. had agreed to acquire $400 million worth of Home Capital’s common shares on a private placement basis in two tranches, for an average price of $10 per share. News of Buffett’s involvement sent shares of Home Capital up by 27 per cent the next day to $19, and has appeared to allay some of the concerns of depositors who had been fleeing the company’s savings accounts.
The initial tranche of more than 16 million shares for $153 million, giving Buffett about a 20 per cent stake, was completed on June 29 and did not require shareholder approval due to use of a special “financial hardship” provision of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Buffett’s additional option to acquire 23.9 million common shares for about $246.8 million (or $10.30 per share), however, requires approval from a majority of its shareholders.
In the days after the Berkshire Hathaway announcement, Home Capital shareholders had mixed views on whether additional skin in the game for the Oracle of Omaha would be positive for investors given that shares had risen to nearly double the $10 price Buffett had agreed to.
Hugo Chan, chairman and chief executive officer of Shanghai-based Kingsferry Capital which owns 3.5 per cent of Home Capital, said they would vote in favour of the second tranche.
Shareholder David Taylor, the founder and chief investment officer of Taylor Asset Management Inc. has said he doesn’t see the need for the added dilution.
Meanwhile, shares have since come back down from its initial bump. Shares of Home Capital were trading around $14 in Toronto at midday on Monday.