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Shaw CEO sells most of stake after shareholders ok CB&I deal

(Reuters) - James Bernhard, chief executive of engineering company Shaw Group Inc , has sold off most of his stake in the company he founded after shareholders approved a sale to Chicago Bridge and Iron Co NV this month.

Late last week, Bernhard reduced his shareholding in Shaw to 143,356 shares from 1,131,603, according to filings with U.S. securities regulators on Monday, in a sale that would have raised more than $45 million.

In criticizing the deal price of $46 per share that Bernhard negotiated for Shaw, H. Kevin Byun at Denali Investors LLC speculated in a letter that Bernhard may have had political ambitions in Louisiana that influenced the timing of the sale to CB&I.

Denali, which had said it owns 1.1 percent of Shaw, was asking for a special committee to investigate Bernhard for potential conflicts of interest in selling off the Louisiana-based company.

But the $3 billion deal, comprising $41 per share in cash and $5 per share in CB&I stock when it was launched at the end of July, won approval from 83 percent of Shaw's outstanding shares on December 21.

Shares of Shaw closed at $46.61 per share on Monday, up 42 cents on the day.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco)

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