Activist investor Barington nominates two directors at Xerium

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BOSTON (Reuters) – Activist investor Barington Capital Group LP launched a fight for two board seats at machine industry company Xerium Technologies Inc., according to a regulatory filing made on Thursday.

The New York-based hedge fund, which owns 5.05 percent of Xerium, nominated two directors to sit on the company’s eight member board. It named Jared Landaw, the firm’s chief operating officer and general counsel, and Michelle Applebaum, a former steel market industry analyst, on March 13.

On March 19, six days after Barington nominated its candidates, the company said it will explore strategic alternatives. One day after making that announcement, Xerium’s chairman, James Wilson, met with Barington representatives.

Barington is urging the company, which makes products used primarily in the production of paper, to consider selling itself or find a way to refinance its $480 million of 9.5 percent senior notes.

The hedge fund currently has representatives on the boards of three industrial companies; A. Schulman, Inc., OMNOVA Solutions, Inc. and The Eastern Company.

James Mitarotonda, who runs Barington, tends to invest in industrial companies or retail companies. Barington, along with Shah Capital and NuOrion Partners, has been pushing Avon Products to sell itself and last month reached an agreement to put Mitarotonda on the board.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss

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