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MGP Ingredients feud appears to be nearly over

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) -- A feud between board members of MGP Ingredients Inc. in Atchison might be over, after the board said it decided to continue with the current business strategy.

Members of the company's founding family had been battling six other members of the MGP board of directors and CEO Tim Newkirk since May, when the board announced it was reviewing strategic options, which often leads to a merger or sale of the company or parts of a business.

The feud twice stopped a scheduled shareholders meeting as each side sought support from investors, with the disagreement eventually reaching the Kansas Court of Appeals, which ruled in October that the shareholders meeting could be held.

On Friday, the board of directors announced it would stick with its current businesses, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/1i0MTYo ).

"After a thorough review, it became clear that the best path to create value for shareholders was to build momentum with MGP's current strategy," chairman John Speirs said in the announcement.

Karen Seaberg, granddaughter of Cloud L. Cray Sr., who founded MGP in 1941, said the announcement settled the main point of contention.

"This was the crux of the entire proxy battle," Seaberg said.

The feud had raised concerns in Atchison about the future of MGP, which is one of the largest employers in the northeast Kansas town and also one of the city's philanthropic leaders.

MGP Ingredients produces specialty wheat proteins and starches for food and other applications, along with distillery products such as food-grade alcohol.