Call them the Carl Icahns of the west. Stanley Gold and Roy Disney have never been shrinking violets in pushing for management changes at companies where they've invested some of the $2 billion in funds in their Shamrock Holdings. Most famously, the two led the charge to oust Michael Eisner at Disney , a company formed by Roy's father, and his uncle, Walt.
They succeeded then, and it looks like they just succeeded again in a different corporate fight, far from the confines of Hollywood. The firm claims preliminary results show that its slate of three candidates was overwhelmingly voted onto the board of Texas Industries , a cement company based in Dallas. "We believe this stock is worth at least twice as much, if not more," says Shamrock's Dennis Johnson, who came to the firm last year by way of CalPERS, where he was in charge of corporate governance. Johnson was one of the candidates Shamrock put up to join the board of TXI in a proxy battle launched only after Johnson says management refused to work with shareholders like Shamrock to address concerns about the company.
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Texas Industries' stock performance has tripled since the March lows, but it is well off its high and trails rivals like Cemex . Shamrock started buying shares in the company last year as the housing bust hit the cement industry hard. Texas Industries was already being criticized by its largest shareholder, Egyptian Nassef Sawiris, who owns almost 15 percent of shares. Shamrock now owns more than 10 percent, and as it began clashing with management, Stanley Gold accused TXI's chairman Robert Rogeres of running the company "as his own personal fiefdom."