July 22--Donegal Group has changed a small but intriguing part of its usual response to disgruntled shareholder Gregory M. Shepard.
Donegal Group on Monday again said no thanks to Shepard's offer to buy more Class A shares and sell his Class B shares.
This echoed last week's message from Donegal Mutual Insurance, the firm that controls Donegal Group, to Shepard regarding the offer.
Donegal Group, a Marietta-based insurance holding company, also turned down his offer to talk about him getting a seat on the Donegal Group board. Again, that was the same stance Donegal Mutual took - nothing out of the ordinary there.
Donegal Group has been rebuffing Shepard's many proposals to increase his stake or his voice in the firm since they began in March 2013. The Florida attorney, a loud and frequent critic of Donegal Group management, now has 9.99 percent of the voting power in the firm.
But this time Donegal Group did accept his offer to meet to discuss why he thinks the stock deals would be in Donegal Group's best interests. A special committee of Donegal Group's board "is willing to meet with (Shepard) at a mutually convenient time at the Philadelphia offices of Ballard Spahr LLP," said the counsel to the special committee.
Donegal Group's response to Shepard did not explain why the company finally is willing to talk to him.
Shepard is a former insurance company executive who's been an investor in Donegal Group since 2005.
Long dissatisfied with Donegal Group's financial and stock performance, he's proposed many times, in many ways, to boost his holdings in the firm.
He's also offered a reward of up to $20 million to any third party that completes a purchase of Donegal Group.
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