First Financial Fund, the closed-end fund administered by Prudential Investments of Newark, N.J. and advised by Wellington Management of Boston, is apparently shoring up its defenses to ward off advances by Stewart Horejsi, a shareholder activist. Horejsi has been purchasing fund shares with an eye toward possibly taking a more active role in the management of the fund. (See related story page 8)

In a preliminary proxy statement filed Feb. 18, Prudential asked First Financial shareholders to approve a change in the fund's articles of incorporation. The change would require at least 2/3's of shareholders to vote in favor of a change in the fund's investment objective, investment allocations or to merge with a large shareholder. The fund currently requires a simple majority vote to pass such proposals. Prudential officials were not available for comment.

In a Jan. 28 filing, Horejsi disclosed that he and certain family trusts he controls collectively own 17 percent of the fund's shares. Last year, Horejsi wrested advisory control of the Preferred Income Management Fund, refocused the fund toward equity investments and renamed it the Boulder Total Return Fund.

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