Shareholder claims Grove Farm worth more

Hanalei’s Mike Sheehan is certain that his lawsuit filed to block the sale of Grove Farm Co. to companies owned by America Online chairman Steve Case and family will have some impact on the deal approved by a majority of Grove Farm shareholders recently.

“I assure you it has some affect. It could be great or it could be little,” Sheehan said Tuesday.

He filed suit to block the $26 million sale for Grove Farm’s 21,600 acres of land, other assets and debts of about $61 million, claiming that shares of the company are worth more on the order of $200 per share, not the $152 that Case’s companies offered.

The two Case companies, ALPS Investment and ALPS Acquisition Sub, were formed to handle his personal investments.

The suit was filed a day before a special shareholders’ meeting where over 98 percent of all shares voted were in favor of the sale. Just 53 shares were voted against, and 1,831 shares did not vote, out of a total of 171,122.

Sheehan was among those voting against the sale.

“Obviously, I disagree with Mr. Case’s valuation of the company,” Sheehan said.

Honolulu attorney Dan Case, Steve Case’s father, said the lawsuit won’t stop finalization of the sale. Dan Case also represents Grove Farm on certain matters.

Steve Case and Sheehan are distant cousins, Sheehan said.

Other than Sheehan’s opposition, most of the other reaction to the sale has been positive. Most of the 175 shareholders are descendants of the company’s founding Wilcox family, and many of them view the sale to Case, whose father was born and raised on Kaua’i, as a family-to-family deal.

Kaua’i County Mayor Maryanne Kusaka also weighed in as a supporter of the deal.

“From all appearances, this is a wonderful thing for Kaua’i,” she said. “(Steve) Case obviously has a great love for Hawai’i, and we look forward to fostering a positive relationship that will benefit all the residents of Kaua’i.” Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at[ or 245-3681 (ext. 224).


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