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Conseco rejects hedge fund proposal

Reuters – Conseco Inc on Thursday rejected hedge fund Steel Partners’ request to raise its shareholding in the insurance company to as much as 22 percent, saying the proposal could reduce its "financial flexibility."

Conseco told Steel Partners in a publicly disclosed letter that "it is not in the interests of all shareholders" for one stockholder to hold over 10 percent of the Carmel, Indiana-based company.

Steel Partners, which holds about 9.8 percent of Conseco, told the U.S. life and accident insurer that it wanted approval to more than double its holding, saying it has been "slow to implement the strategic review process" that it previously disclosed.

Conseco responded that its "review of strategic alternatives" is "the highest priority" for the company and that "we strongly disagree with the suggestions to the contrary."

Steel Partners is pushing Conseco to improve its return on equity, according to public filings.

At the company’s annual meeting May 21, shareholders reelected 10 directors to serve terms expiring at next year’s annual meeting.

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