This weekend, mega defense contractor United Technologies announced an offer for Diebold (1) (2) at a 66% premium to the current stock market price. Leading this effort is the board of directors of United Technologies. United Technologies board includes Jamie Gorelick, partner at WilmerHale, who was the former Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration who played such a significant role in promoting prison privatization and was a member of the 911 Commission.
Gorelick is a large contributor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Her firm, WilmerHale, is a large backer of the Clinton campaign. Not surprisingly, Gorelick is mentioned as a likely Attorney General in a Hillary Clinton Administration. In its February 2008 Proxy, United Technologies described its lead investor as follows:
In a filing made with the SEC, State Street Bank & Trust Company, acting in various fiduciary capacities, reported that it held as of December 31, 2007 sole voting power with respect to 37,348,324 shares of UTC Common Stock, shared voting power with respect to 65,761,775 shares of UTC Common Stock, and shared dispositive power with respect to 103,110,099 shares of UTC Common Stock. State Street Bank & Trust Company serves as Trustee for UTC’s Employee Savings Plan and disclaims beneficial ownership of the reported shares.
Hence, it is hard to determine who exactly will control a significant percentage of the voting machines during the upcoming Presidential election. Question is, what does offering a $14 per share premium in a down stock market to the people who control Diebold have to do with Tuesday’s vote counting in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont?
Is Hillary Clinton suddenly back in the race?
Whatever happens Tuesday, my bet is UT will be positioned to win lots of new sales and contracts from the Pentagon in the new Administration. What do you think? Is owning the voting machines a government contractor’s most creative marketing strategy? If it is, Diebold has now indicated they want more than $14 per share:
Diebold Rejects United Tech Takeover Offer As Too Low
By Reuters (3 Mar 2008)