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Advisory firm Glass Lewis backs PDC Energy in activist challenge

NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) - Shareholder advisory group Glass Lewis advised on Thursday investors in PDC Energy Inc to vote in favor of the company's board nominees, dealing a blow to the challenge of activist shareholder Kimmeridge Energy Management Co.

The Denver-based firm is one of a number of U.S. oil and gas producers to have faced investor angst against it in the last year, as shareholders become increasingly vocal about poor returns versus other economic sectors and bloated expenses.

PDC had three directors facing re-election at the company's annual shareholder meeting on May 29, including President and Chief Executive Officer Barton Brookman. Kimmeridge had offered three separate board nominations, including Ben Dell, the founder of the investment firm.

"Glass Lewis noted that Kimmeridge has failed to present a compelling case for change at the board level and recommends rejecting Kimmeridge's nominees," according to a statement from the advisory firm.

Glass Lewis also said it believed that some of Kimmeridge's plans, including "advanced aggressive capital allocation initiatives" and potential unspecified mergers and acquisition activity was not "particularly compelling for a firm of PDC's scope and scale."

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Writing by David French Editing by Marguerita Choy)