Shareholders of property firm NPT have booted two of its directors from the board and voted down a deal with the $1.7 billion Kiwi Property Group.
To replace the ousted directors, investors today also agreed to install the chair of NPT's largest single shareholder Augusta Capital and two others to the NZX-listed minnow
The result following a lively shareholder meeting in Auckland where investors voted on a proposal from the NPT board and a rival plan from Augusta.
The NPT deal had three parts.
•For $230 million, NPT would buy Kiwi's North City Shopping Centre in Porirua and its earthquake-strengthened Majestic Centre in Wellington's CBD. That would more than double NPT's size.
•Kiwi would take a 19.9 per cent stake in NPT via the issue of new shares.
•NPT would sell its management rights to Kiwi for just $6m.
Augusta, in the alternative, successfully proposed to remove NPT directors and replace them with their own appointees.
As a result of the vote, NPT chair Tony Sewell and director Jim Sherwin are leaving the company's board.
They are being replaced by Allen Bollard and Bruce Cotterill, and Augusta chair, Paul Duffy.
Carol Campbell maintains her position as an independent director.
The meeting saw terse exchanges where Sewell told Augusta Capital's founder and managing director Mark Francis to be quiet.
"Mr Francis, you've had your say," Sewell said a number of times, silencing him completely at one point.
Francis spoke out strongly against the deal.
"These people are awaiting a vote of no confidence to remove them from office," Francis told about 100 shareholders.
"This is a value destructive deal," he said, accusing the NPT board and management of being "in distress".
Augusta manages $1.7b of real estate in New Zealand and Australia and had been one of the best-performing real estate businesses.
Augusta is NPT's largest shareholder, with 18.85 per cent.
After winning the vote, Francis said in a statement to the NZX:
"The will of NPT's shareholders has seen a poor proposal rejected and the governance changed; we are grateful for the support afforded to us by those shareholders.