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Oshkosh Corp., Icahn Battle Over Revised Board

Activist investor Carl Icahn is battling with Oshkosh over the nominations of various board members, with advisory firms returning mixed results.

NEW YORK (AP) — Two proxy firms backed truck maker Oshkosh Corp.'s own nominees to its board, while a third major shareholder advisory firm on Wednesday endorsed some of activist investor Carl Icahn's nominees.

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. recommended that shareholders vote for three of the six Icahn-backed candidates: Jose Maria Alapont, A.B. Krongard and Samuel Merksamer.

The firm said the dissidents focused on "the larger strategic vision of optimizing shareholder return, while the (Oshkosh) board appears to have retreated into a sort of strategic tunnel vision."

Icahn, who holds 9.5 percent of the company's outstanding shares, said the partial endorsement shows ISS believes " the path forward for Oshkosh's board should include shareholder-nominated directors."

Oshkosh countered with recommendations from Glass Lewis & Co. and Egan-Jones Proxy Services, both of which said investors should vote for all of the company's nominees to the 13-member board.

Glass Lewis said it supported the Oshkosh board's recent attempt to reduce costs and "take advantage of rebounding markets, both domestically and internationally."

Oshkosh makes military trucks, as well as fire engines and other heavy-duty civilian vehicles. Egan-Jones suggested that Icahn doesn't know the defense business and has a "mixed record of success with other companies in industries new to him."

Shareholders will meet to vote Jan. 27.

The shares rose 36 cents to close at $24.61. They have ranged from $14.07 to $40.11 in the past year.

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