Shareholder activism and Motorola: (the billionaire way)

Shareholder activists are not parka-wearing, be-bearded, placard-waving activists. By definition, they need to own and control shares. Unfortunately, retail investors being what they are, also means they wont get much clout at the AGM.

moto.gifIt helps if you’re a billionaire in charge of investment funds, and you aren’t happy the way that your investment is being managed. The mere whiff of a threat alone, can get them to accede to your demands for changes in management. They may even be forced to place your people on their board.

From BusinessWeek:

Motorola named Keith Meister, a managing director of Icahn investment funds, to its board and said it will nominate both him and fellow Icahn nominee William Hambrecht for director slots. The agreement virtually ensures that both will be elected at the company’s shareholder meeting next month.

Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola also will seek input from Icahn on the planned separation of its mobile devices operations and search for a chief executive for that business under the terms of the agreement.

Icahn agreed not to solicit proxies at the annual meeting, to dismiss litigation against the company and to vote his shares in support of all of the board’s director nominees.

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