April 25, 2006

More Voting Results on Majority Vote Shareholder Proposals

According to ISS’ “Corporate Governance Blog,” Sprint Nextel shareholders supported an AFL-CIO shareholder proposal on majority voting at its annual meeting last week with 66.4% of the votes cast. That follows a 61.7% showing at Novell on April 6th for a United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners proposal. These early votes suggest that majority voting will receive significant investor support this season at companies that have not adopted board election reforms, such as director resignation policies and majority vote standards.

However, majority vote proposals continue to receive less support at companies that have adopted resignation policies (which companies retained plurality voting). Last week, similar proposals received 37.5% at Wachovia and failed to reach a majority at Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Electronic Data Systems reported that a majority elections resolution got 32% support, but that tally counted abstentions as votes against. In February, all three companies director resignation policies.

These votes are consistent with earlier results, where majority vote proposals failed to pass at Morgan Stanley, Hewlett-Packard, Ciena and Analog Devices, all of which had adopted resignation policies. More to come: majority vote proposals will appear on the ballot at 24 companies this week alone!

Final Report from the SEC’s Small Business Advisory Committee

Yesterday, the SEC’s Small Business Advisory Committee submitted its 241-page final report to the SEC. The FEI’s “Section 404 Blog” has a summary of its contents. Here is a statement from Chairman Cox on the report.

What Now After Dabit

There’s been lots of commentary after the recent US Supreme Court’s case on SLUSA, Merrill Lynch v. Dabit (including all these law firm memos). In this podcast, John Stigi of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton provides some insight into the decision – and one more coming up – and analyzes the lay of the land in its aftermath, including:

– What did the US Supreme Court decide in Dabit? Why is the decision important?
– What other US Supreme Court case will be decided soon that might further impact securities class actions?
– What do you think the plaintiffs’ bar plan of action might be now?

Study: AIM Market Could Be the New Nasdaq

According to this Reuters article, a recent study suggests that the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market is the new Nasdaq, one reason why the Nasdaq has bought a 15% stake in the LSE. Learn more about what AIM is all about – and how (and why) a company might list on AIM – on our May 11th webcast: “How to Go Public on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM.”