Stelios may still sue over Fortress bid

LONDON (Reuters) – Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of Stelmar Shipping Ltd, said yesterday he may take legal action over the $677 million takeover of Stelmar by private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC. Haji-Ioannou, who with his family owns about 20 percent of Stelmar shares, has opposed the takeover by Fortress as he believes that a previous offer by rival shipping firm OMI Corp was worth more. He added that in May 2004, Overseas Shipping Group had also offered 0.85 OSG shares to buy his Stelmar stake. OSG eventually lost out in an unofficial tender to OMI, Haji-Ioannou added. Shareholders are due to vote on November 16 on whether or not to approve the Fortress takeover. «Whatever the outcome of the shareholder vote, however, I may still pursue a class action against the Stelmar officers and directors for the approximate $200 million in shareholder value lost, which, if upheld, will be divided among all shareholders who are members of the class,» he said in a letter to Stelmar Chairman Nick Hartley.