By Angel Gonzalez
A U.S. judge in Oklahoma rejected Wednesday a shareholder attempt to delay Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s (CHK) annual shareholders meeting.
The plaintiffs, which included the Deborah G. Mallow IRA SEP Investment Plan and other shareholders, argued that Chesapeake, the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer, failed to disclose in its proxy materials information needed for a "fully informed vote" at the company's annual meeting. That information was related to loans taken by Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon from financial institutions that had dealt with Chesapeake in order to fund his private participation in wells drilled by the company. The shareholder meeting will be held in Chesapeake's Oklahoma City campus on Friday.
The U.S. court for the Western District of Oklahoma said that the plaintiffs couldn't prove they'd suffer "irreparable injury" if the injunction was denied.
The decision comes as Chesapeake has announced a broad overhaul of its governance, in the face of shareholder criticism about the loans and concerns about the company's ability to finance its ambitious drilling plans. Chesapeake Monday said it would add to its board four director chosen by two of its largest shareholders. Mr. McClendon will step down as chairman of the board once an independent chairman is chosen, but he will remain CEO and a director.
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