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Hedge fund forces NRG bid withdrawal

The hedge fund Pirate Capital has forced US energy company Mirant to withdraw its hostile takeover bid for rival energy producer NRG Energy, after the fund – a Mirant shareholder – voiced its objection to the move.

The hedge fund, along with fellow Mirant investors Omega Advisors and Jana Partners, earlier urged the company to abandon its pursuit of NRG, arguing that a merger would not make financial sense.

Pirate Capital warned Mirant executives that if the offer was not officially withdrawn by June 14th, then the hedge fund would seek to remove members of the current board.

However, in its subsequent announcement of the withdrawal of the bid, worth $7.9 billion, Mirant made no reference to the hedge fund or other investors in citing its reasons.

Instead, the announcement said that the unwillingness of NRG directors to discuss a possible merger was the deciding factor, with a "long and contested pursuit" not in the best interest of the company.

Together, Pirate Capital, Omega and Jana own less than four per cent of Mirant stock, however the growing influence of activist hedge funds on the major companies they invest in has become increasingly obvious.