Ebix, under pressure from Barington, adds two board nominees

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 01, 2014 9:08 AM

(Reuters) - Software company Ebix Inc, under pressure from Barington Capital Group, added two independent nominees to its board slate, including the activist investor's chief executive.

The additions are part of a deal under which Barington agreed to vote in support of all of Ebix's director nominees at the 2014 annual meeting.

Ebix said it added Barington CEO James Mitarotonda and Joseph Wright, who serves on the U.S. government's Defense Business Board, to its board slate.

The company, which provides software to the insurance industry, said Barington had also agreed to certain customary "standstill" provisions. It did not elaborate on the provisions.

If the nominees are elected, Ebix's board will expand to eight members from six and it will have seven independent members, the company said.

Barington said in a letter to Ebix's Chief Executive Robin Raina in November that the software company needed new independent directors to improve oversight and it suggested four candidates.

Barington, which represents a group of investors that owns over 1.6 percent of Ebix's common stock, had also recommended Deloitte & Touche LLP [DLTE.UL] former partner Noel Spiegel and McKinsey & Co former partner Javier Perez for board nomination.

New York-based Barington has been engaged in activist investing since January 2000.

It sometimes collaborates with the companies it invests in, such as clothing retailer The Jones Group Inc. Mitarotonda joined Jones Group's board in May 2013 and the retailer was eventually sold to Sycamore Partners in April this year.

Ebix's shares closed at $16.21 on Friday on the Nasdaq.

Up to Friday's close, the stock had gained 3.9 percent since Nov. 10, a day before the company received the letter from Barington.

(Reporting by Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)