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Monday, January 24, 2005

Shareholder democracy?

From the Wall Street Journal, 1/18/05, B2, yet another indication that the more democratic voting rights that predominated in the early nineteenth century--yes, even in the United States--still prevail in some companies in Europe, in this case, an Austrian company. The WSJ reports that "German engineering company Siemens AG failed to persuade the required number of VA Technologie AG shareholders to change a rule that limits investors' voting rights to 25% regardless of the size of their stake." Dropping the proportional cap on total votes, which had been a condition of Siemens' takeover offer, required a 75% majority (also typical of earlier practice) and Siemen's motion received only 73.2% of the votes cast.

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