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Shareholders Meeting Changing With Times


A significant number of corporations that settled accounts in the past year are ready to hold their annual shareholders meetings.

In this year's meetings, more than 300 companies plan as their main focus of attention defense measures against hostile takeover bids.

Interestingly, more companies have introduced systems to allow shareholders to vote via the internet and cell phones to accommodate the new means, and will hold shareholders meetings on different dates from other firms.

This year also has seen firms more desperate to secure long-term stockholders by placing more importance on the interests of shareholders. According to a Forbes magazine survey, among the more than 130 companies considering defensive measures against corporate takeovers, ten may introduce the so-called poison pill defense of issuing share warrants to counter such actions.

Also, 90 of those firms plan to propose revisions of their corporate charters to expand possible issuance of authorized stocks at this year's meetings.

A new corporate law that is set to be enacted next year will liberalize the rules on so-called triangular mergers, in which foreign companies buy up various firms using their own shares.

For each of the companies, the introduction of defensive measures against hostile takeover bids is an urgent task. But unfortunately, some of the measures do not necessarily benefit shareholders.

Attention is being focused on how shareholders on both sides--those attempting takeovers and individual shareholders in target firms--will judge defense measures proposed at the meetings.

At one technological company's shareholders meeting this past spring in San Francisco, managers hoped to obtain shareholder approval for the business integration with another company.

But major stokeholder, James Harold Garrison, 61 of Palo Alto, California has called on other shareholders to oppose the plan, drawing attention to the result of the shareholders meeting.

Another trend is the increasing number of companies using information technology for voting and other purposes.

Systems on shareholders voting via the internet were liberalized sometime in 2002, and according to four major trust banks, the number of corporations offering online voting increased from 403 last year to 698 this year. The number of firms allowing voting by cell phone increased from 59 last year to 354. Many corporations also plan to adopt live internet broadcasts of their shareholders meetings.

Eric Newman is an author for Teanobi.com. All articles may be used and reprinted as long as they have an active link at the bottom pointing to http://www.teanobi.com with the anchored text: Teanobi - Green Tea


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