Dissident shareholders of Global Natural Resources PLC captured only one of seven board seats in a hotly contested proxy fight at the firm's annual meeting on Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Elected to the board was Alan C. Greenberg, chief executive officer of Bear Stearns & Co., the New York investment banking firm that spearheaded the proxy contest.
The dissident group, called Committee for the Protection of Global Shareholders, issued a release here promising to press their court challenges against Global's management. The group said the election of Greenberg was "the first step in the compaign . . . to change the board of Global."
Global President Frank G. Beatty countered that further litigation would "divert management and involve the company in further enormous legal expenses."
Based in the Channel Islands between Britain and France, Global controls sizable oil reserves in the United States, Indonesia and the Canadian Arctic.
Global had remained an obscure company whose stock did not even trade on American exchanges until Bear Stearns became interested in it.
As the dissidents, who included Marvin L. Warner, a sports promoter and former ambassador to Switzerland, began accumulating shares, Beatty took defensive measures.
Among other things, Global acquired McFarlane Oil Co. in Houston, paying for the acquisition with 3.1 million shares of stock from Global's inventory. The effect was to put newly issued stock in friendly hands, thereby diluting the strength of the Bear Stearns groups' holdings.
The dissidents have challenged the McFarlane acquisition in U.S. and British courts, but they have been unsuccessful so far.
The dissident group, citing an internal Global report predicting that McFarlane will have big losses in the next several years, claim that the negative information was withheld illegally from stockholders. The dissidents allege that the acquisition was simply a scheme to put 3 million shares in friendly hands.
According to the Bear Stearns group, "the courts in each jurisdiction have recognized that there is strong evidence to support the claims, and the committee intends to press for an early trial attacking the McFarlane acquisition."