Investment firm Steel Partners II L.P. has declared it wants to increase its holdings in Conseco Inc., Carmel, Ind., and have a bigger say in the insurer’s operations.
Among other goals, Steel Partners says it wants Conseco to unload its closed block of long term care insurance.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Steel Partners, New York, said it has formally asked Conseco’s board of directors to support its bid for increased ownership.
In its filing, it said it wanted to increase its stake in Conseco from its current 9.8% to as much as 22%.
Conseco’s Web site lists Columbia Wanger Asset Management L.P., Chicago, as its largest shareholder, at 10.1%, with Steel Partners second.
In a letter to the board, Steel Partners said it wanted to acquire more Conseco shares beyond the 18.1 million it now owns, using a modified Dutch auction.
A Dutch auction opens bidding for a security at a specified price and drops gradually until a buyer bids the amount asked.
“We continue to believe that the shares are undervalued at the current price levels and are interested in purchasing additional shares,” Steel Partners stated in its letter, which was signed by company president Jack Howard.
Steel Partners said it would tender an offer of $12.50 to $14 per share. It also said it would seek to buy more shares in the open market later. Conseco closed at $11.20 a share on May 21.