1. Don't Rock the Vote, BabyYou always have to be on the lookout for shareholder democracy. Otherwise, that sinister scourge could insinuate itself into your company and -- horrors! -- actually take hold.
Yep, that's what we thought this week when we heard the latest news about a shareholder resolution proposed for Disney's ( DIS) annual meeting next year.
|Mickey Mouse Democracy |
Can't be too careful
Last month, you see, activist Disney shareholder groups got the blessing of staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission to submit for vote a resolution asking Disney to enable certain shareholders, under certain circumstances, to easily nominate a limited number of independent directors for election to the board.
Lest democracy run amok, the resolution -- somewhat similar to proposals already kicking around -- had a number of limitations that would have prevented Shareholders Gone Wild madness. To make a nomination, the shareholder or shareholder group would have had to hold at least 5% of stock for two years. And, given Disney's 11-member board, the shareholder slate -- which would be running, presumably, against the board's full slate -- would be limited to two directors.
Well, it seems a little bit of democracy is still too much. As The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, after some complaining from Disney, the SEC staff reversed itself and gave Disney the green light to withhold the resolution from a shareholder vote.
Whew! That was close. If the SEC had let that through, who knows how many more dominoes would be knocked over? Pretty soon, U.S. citizens would start asking for the right to nominate presidential candidates. Lord knows where that would lead us.
2. It's All About the Benjamins, FranklinFormer Fannie Mae ( FNM) CEO Franklin Raines has a minor disagreement with the mortgage giant, we learned Monday.
That should be the least of his worries. Raines announced his retirement Dec. 21, soon after