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Monday, February 10, 2003

Now Harvard Sues Franklin

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Harvard University is fighting back against Templeton Asset Management with a suit of its own. The action is a counterclaim to a lawsuit filed Templeton recently filed against Harvard last week. That suit claimed Harvard published misleading proxy statements and purchased shares in two closed end funds without disclosing its plans.

The fight is over how to best run the closed end China World and Dragon closed-end funds. Harvard believes that the funds should be open-ended and Franklin fired as advisor to eliminate the steep discount in the price of the funds' shares. Templeton, meanwhile, wants to keep the status quo.

The battle came to a head after Harvard Management Company purchased 30 percent and 14 percent of the funds respectively and launched a proxy fight over the issue. Franklin's intent in filing the suit is to block Harvard from being able to vote the shares it acquired without "proper" disclosure.

Harvard, on the other hand, claims it did nothing wrong and that Franklin is fighting to protect its own fee revenue as advisor to the funds.

The shareholders will have the ultimate say on the matter at the funds' annual meeting in March.  

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