Delek US Holdings executives have received a notable boost in their battle with Carl Icahn, whose CVR Energy is pushing for major strategic and board changes at the Brentwood-based company.
The two most high-profile proxy advisory firms, which help institutional investors assess proxy contests and other items up for a vote at public companies, have both recommended to their clients that they support the full Delek board for re-election. That includes the three directors CVR, which owns 15 percent of Delek, has targeted with nominees of its own.
In their report, Institutional Shareholder Services analysts say Icahn and CVR have not made a compelling case both against the strategy Delek Chairman and CEO Uzi Yemin and his team have laid out and for their alternative plans.
“[Delek] has publicly recognized since at least late 2019 that it trades at a sum-of-the-parts discount, which it believes can be alleviated through implementation of its strategy,” the ISS team wrote last week. “The dissident has not clearly articulated why this is incorrect or aspirational […] The question is then why one reasonable strategy should be abandoned in favor of another.”
At fellow advisory firm Glass Lewis, analysts have sounded a similar note, saying CVR’s push has consisted primarily of “blanket arguments with little analytical support” and that its proposals could pull Delek off course in the longer term.
Writing to Delek employees on Tuesday, Yemin said the recommendations from ISS and Glass Lewis “further validate the significant steps we have taken to strengthen our competitive position, lay the groundwork for continued future growth, and create a board that reflects a commitment to regular refreshment and increasing diversity.”
Shares of Delek (Ticker: DK) were up more than 3 percent to $23.50 Tuesday afternoon. They have risen more than 50 percent year to date.