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Comtech faces proxy challenge

An activist investor has laid down a proxy challenge to Comtech Telecommunications Corp., a maker of equipment for 911 emergency dispatch systems and satellite communications.

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Outerbridge Capital Management LLC announced it is nominating three independent candidates to the board of the Melville company. The Manhattan investment firm also issued an open letter repeating earlier criticism about the “long stagnation” of Comtech’s shares compared to the Russell 2000 Index of small-capitalization stocks.

On Thursday, a day after Outerbridge disclosed its slate of candidates, Comtech issued a statement saying that it had been engaged in “a good faith dialogue” about two potential director candidates proposed by the activist investor.

Comtech, however, said that the trio nominated by Outerbridge had never been mentioned in those talks. Comtech also said that Outerbridge “has exhibited little understanding” of the company’s business and its moves “to enhance shareholder value.”

The company said it will present its own recommended director nominees in a government filing in advance of the annual meeting, expected to be held in December.

“We are confident we have the right mix of skills, experience and perspectives on our board to deliver on our value creation opportunity,” a company spokesman said in an email Friday.

On Friday, Comtech shares fell 1.4% to $24.89. Newsday

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