Texas billionaire Sam Wyly has taken a step back from the proxy fight for control of Computer Associates and reduced the number of board nominees his company Ranger Governance will field, from 10 to four.
The move is in response to feedback from institutional investors, governance experts and shareholders, all of whom were advocating that Ranger field a minority slate, Wyly said in a statement released today.
"Ranger and its nominees have agreed to put forth four strong nominees for consideration by CA shareholders," Wyly said in the prepared statement. "I'm confident that these four outstanding individuals will greatly enhance the board's ability to transform CA into the leader of the global software industry."
If elected by CA shareholders at the company's annual meeting on August 29, the four Ranger nominees would replace CA Chairman Charles Wang and three other directors, the release said. The four are specifically running against Wang and the three others.
Wyly has removed himself as a candidate for chairman.
Wyly's decision comes just days after Ranger failed to win the backing of Institutional Investor Services, a proxy voting advisory service which late last week recommended that shareholders of CA vote for the software company's exisiting slate of directors rather than those put up by Wyly.
Today's news is the latest twist in the escalating battle for control over the $US5.4 billion CA. Wyly has been fighting for several months now to replace CA's slate of directors, claiming that the company has lost sight of the customer. As part of his bid, he has spelled out plans to split CA into four independant units servicing the fields of storage, security, systems and knowledge management.
So far, Wyly's proposed takeover bid has been met with little enthusiasm by customers who have previously expressed concern that the move would be disruptive.