Bitcoin firm nominates Delaney in proxy fight

Riot Platforms seeks to put former Jacksonville mayor on Bitfarms’ board.

  • By Mark Basch
  • | 12:00 a.m. June 27, 2024
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A Colorado-based bitcoin infrastructure company launched a proxy fight against a Canadian bitcoin firm by nominating former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney and two others to the company’s board of directors.

Riot Platforms Ltd. announced June 24 it is calling for a special meeting of shareholders of Bitfarms Ltd. to vote on the three new directors.

Riot, which owns 14.9% of Bitfarms’ stock, said in a June 24 news release it made a merger proposal to the Bitfarms board on April 22.


“The bottom line is this: over the course of more than a year of attempting to engage constructively with the Bitfarms Board regarding a potential combination of Bitfarms and Riot, it has become evident to Riot that good faith negotiations simply will not be possible until there is real change in the Bitfarms boardroom,” it said in the release.

Delaney served as Jacksonville mayor from 1995-2003.

He is president of Flagler College and also has roles with law firm Rogers Towers and government relations firm The Fiorentino Group.

Riot said Delaney previously served on the boards of two Jacksonville-based public companies that were acquired, Florida Rock Industries Inc. and Jacksonville Bancorp Inc.

“John will bring decades of public policy and government relations knowledge, which is critical to the Bitcoin mining industry going forward, as well as crucial hands-on experience overseeing successful sale processes as a public company director,” Riot said.

Bitfarms, which describes itself as a bitcoin mining company, issued a news release in response saying it will review the request for a special meeting. It previously said an independent committee of its board determined Riot’s offer undervalued the company.

Proficient Auto revenue rebounding from strikes

Proficient Auto Logistics Inc. didn’t have any operating businesses in the first quarter, before its initial public offering May 13.

However, the Jacksonville-based company did issue a first-quarter financial report June 18 showing its businesses acquired after the IPO had a slight decline in revenue.

Proficient merged five companies that transport automobiles from manufacturers to dealers, after the IPO.

“While we were pleased with the accomplishment of completing those transactions, it merely marks the beginning of the real work in front of us to execute against the plan that we described to investors in the lead up to the IPO,” Chief Executive Rick O’Dell said in a conference call after the earnings report.

The combined companies produced $91 million in revenue in the first quarter, excluding fuel surcharges, 4.6% lower than the previous year.

Proficient said business was impacted by the United Auto Workers strikes in the fall of 2023, which lowered the number of vehicles available for transport.

“Volumes began showing improvement around the middle of February and have continued to strengthen since then,” O’Dell said.

He said revenue will also be helped by nine new contracts to transport vehicles signed since the beginning of the year.

Proficient is hoping to expand with additional acquisitions.

“While our primary focus is the integration and growth of the founding companies, we also continue to see a number of interesting strategic opportunities and in each case, we’ll evaluate their potential for accelerating the achievement of our coverage and profitability goals,” O’Dell said.

Proficient’s stock had remained close to its IPO price of $15 a share since the initial sale, but it jumped as much as $1.47 to a high of $16.53 on June 18 after the earnings report.

Analyst optimistic on FIS after investor conference

After a presentation to a Morgan Stanley investor conference June 11, an analyst for the firm expressed optimism about Jacksonville-based Fidelity National Information Services Inc., or FIS.

Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette said comments by FIS Chief Financial Officer James Kehoe suggest the company’s growth could be better than expected.

“Kehoe expects additional growth versus the market in Banking to come from driving more Payments services for banks, an area of the business that was likely underperforming over the last few years as management was busy integrating and trying to accelerate growth in Worldpay,” Faucette said in a research note.

FIS sold a majority stake in its Worldpay merchant payments business in February and is refocusing on its core banking technology business.

Kehoe told the conference FIS is seeing demand from banking clients for additional services, Faucette said.

“We believe this is largely as restructuring work by the new management team has helped improve client satisfaction and retention,” Faucette said.

“He reiterated that FIS is no longer seeking to win large transformational deals that are less profitable and add noise to revenue growth figures, and instead have seen success with reorganization of the salesforce to incentivize higher margin, recurring revenue type features that can drive consistent growth.”

Faucette maintains on “overweight” rating on FIS’ stock.



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