Safeguard Scientifics, activist investor group call truce - Technical.ly Philly

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Apr. 24, 2018 12:56 pm

Safeguard Scientifics, activist investor group call truce

As part of the deal between Safeguard and Sierra Capital, two new independent directors were named to the board of directors.

At Safeguard HQ, a display case with a trophy for each Safeguard portfolio company, pictured here in 2016.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

At Radnor, Pa.-based Safeguard Scientifics — the distressed venture firm under fire from investors since late last year — a deal has been struck.

The company’s board of directors and activist investor group Sierra Capital announced Monday an agreement to name two additional independent directors in Russell Glass and Ira Lubert. Lubert started his career at Safeguard in the 1950s alongside Warren V. “Pete” Musser.

“We appreciate the constructive engagement and open dialogue we have had with Safeguard’s Board and senior management team, and we are supportive of Safeguard’s new strategy, which addresses the suggestions raised during our engagement,” Sierra reps said in a statement.

Terms of the “cooperation agreement” call for Sierra Capital, owner of 5 percent of outstanding shares in the publicly-traded company, to vote in favor of all of Safeguard’s director nominees at the company’s 2018 Annual Meeting.

“I am pleased to welcome Russell and Ira to the Safeguard Board and am confident they will complement the strengths of the current members of our Board and help us oversee the execution of the company’s strategy to streamline its organizational structure, reduce operating costs and monetize partner company interests to maximize net proceeds distributable to shareholders,” said Safeguard Chairman Robert Rosenthal.

In March, Safeguard announced its intention to permanently halt investments in new companies and divest its interest in current portfolio companies, like Philly’s WebLinc, CloudMine and COSY.

The following month, CEO Stephen Zarrilli, who has helmed the storied Radnor VC since 2012, announced his intention to step down alongside other senior executives in a move that one Safeguard investor called “just for show.”

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