I feel obligated to preface this post by saying it will definitely be based on pure speculation and have little factual basis. The only time I receive calls from a shareholder services company retained by a company is when there is significant self preservation interest in the outcome of a proxy. That being said, I received a call from "ESP??" Shareholder services (much like Kingsdale whom I am far more familiar with) calling on behalf of Seafield outlining the importance of voting inline with management's recommendations. The rationale for the call being if the minimum quorum was not met it could result in unnecessary additional expense. Certainly retaining the services of a company to contact shareholders to ensure they are sufficiently literate to comprehend the information on a proxy is an expense that would likely not otherwise be required unless there is a descension in the reelection of the board.
Again speculation...I have to believe there is some interest from BAT's management in consolidating the claims of both companies to create a more considerable resource whereby market recognition would likely result in a multiple of the two market capitalization rather than a linear combination. With valuations near cash for SFF (based on most recent financial disclosure assuming a reasonable burn rate), the merits of such a combination increase in probability and make the proposition palatable assuming a reasonable premium.
Certainly, I have no inside knowledge and base my assumptions on recent activity and pure speculation but I fully expect a material development in the near term. DD is recommended.