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Daily Telegraph: Van the Builder must Shell out for 3,000

Daily Telegraph: Van the Builder must Shell out for 3,000

“These shareholders have been treated shabbily. Yet Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s chief executive, says there is nothing left in his tool-box to help them, which seems careless after spending $115m on advice.”

Saturday 9 July 2005

City comment

Edited by Neil Collins

(Filed: 09/07/2005)

Shell lowers threshold for merger to go through

More news from Shell, which is trying to merge its British and Dutch parts into a monolith called Royal Dutch Shell. The £100billion deal was proceeding smoothly until yesterday, when Shell suddenly cut the required level of acceptances for Dutch investors from 95pc to 75pc.

The company’s PR machine had no convincing explanation for this, but some of Shell’s army of observers reckon it betrays nerves, at least among the advisers. One difficulty is with the 3,000 British holders of Royal Dutch shares, who are being hit with a capital gains tax bill even though they are not selling, and rather than meekly accept and pay the tax – estimated at £177m between them – they are likely to sit on their hands and see what happens.

These shareholders have been treated shabbily. Yet Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s chief executive, says there is nothing left in his tool-box to help them, which seems careless after spending $115m on advice. Van the Builder should look again to tweak a deal for the unlucky 3,000. Can he do it? Yes, he can!

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