Frontline v DHT: hostile merger litigation moves from New York to the Marshall Islands

In the latest twist to the Frontline Ltd/DHT merger saga, Frontline Ltd has abandoned its complaint against DHT filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York on 18th April, 2017 in favour of a suit in the High Court of the Marshall Islands.

Frontline Ltd has asked the Marshall Islands court to issue a temporary restraining order preventing BW from acquiring shares in excess of the 33.5% it will own, following the completion of DHT’s acquisition of BW Group’s VLCC fleet.

In rejecting Frontline’s earlier request for a temporary restraining order blocking the acquisitions, on 19th April, 2017, the New York court ruled that the timing of Frontline’s request was “inexcusable”, in light of the fact that Frontline “had 18 days prior to 18th April to properly serve defendants and to attempt to marshal a case supporting jurisdiction over the defendants.”

The court also said that Frontline had “failed at this stage of the case to establish a probability of success on” its claims that the transaction between DHT and BW Group violated applicable law.


Frontline subsequently filed a complaint in the Marshall Islands on 26th April (where DHT is incorporated) to immediately enjoin portions of the allegedly unfair transaction documents into which DHT has entered that would permit BW Group to establish 45% ownership of DHT (even as other shareholders cannot exceed 10%). Frontline has also sought an injunction as to the alleged poison pill and other related anti-takeover defences DHT has erected.

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