SBA Fights Proxy Access Proposal

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SBA Communications is urging its stockholders to vote against a shareholder proposal concerning proxy access, SNL Kagan reported. “The Comptroller of the City of New York, the custodian of various funds that own 638,759 shares of SBA stock, urged the company to adopt a ‘proxy access’ bylaw, “SNL Kagan explained. This would require the company to open up their board nominations to shareholders. USAToday reported that a growing collective of multibillion-dollar investment funds are pushing companies to adopt “proxy access.” “More than a dozen companies have pushed back against shareholder-led changes, which has prompted investors to warn directors that they could lose votes in the upcoming election season,” USAToday reported. Without this access, directors are nominated entirely by the board, usually without input from the shareholders.

“In an April 10 proxy statement, SBA opposed the proposal, claiming that it is not appropriately tailored to SBA’s shareholder returns and long-term value creation strategy. The company added that the proposal could operate contrary to the achievement of its stated purpose of contributing to shareholder value.” Dozens of companies have received proposals for this or a similar formula in 2015, including Whole Foods, eBay, Chipotle, Citigroup and Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer alone has sent out 75 such proposals in recent months to companies owned by New York City’s various public retirement funds, which manage $160 billion.(USAToday)

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