No one seems surprised that Blockbuster
Yet there's a real travesty here. Icahn only had a 9.7% stake in the company. Shareholders, in sum, were generally fed up with the direction the company was taking. Why is the board undoing what a majority vote wanted?
Look, as a Netflix
But there is something brutally wrong when shareholders are being bamboozled this way. The reappointment of Antioco came hours after Tim Beyers put out a brilliant piece on the importance of individual investors to get out and vote their proxies this time of year. Ironic?
A year ago, the ruckus at Disney
That was shareholder activism in action. What Blockbuster did last week set back the investor empowerment movement. This wasn't simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This was doing so while the majority of its passengers were arguing that the deck chairs could be used as flotation devices.
I'm not going to bash Antioco. He has proven himself in leadership positions in consumer-driven retail operations like 7-Eleven
But that's just me. I'm not a Blockbuster shareholder. I didn't cast one of the many "no confidence" votes here. If the board's ridiculous compensation and severance packages are the reason why Antioco is still around, then that's just another reason to whip out a broom and sweep the boardroom clean next year as well.
Proxy nation intoxication
Proxy battles can be a glorious sight. And if history is any indicator, the dissidents usually get it right in the end. Consider the outcry at Hewlett-Packard
Your more vanilla proxy battle may involve management spurring a buyout offer hurled its way. That can be exciting too. After all, you have a situation where corporate executives are urging shareholders not to vote in favor of an acquisition premium that they failed to achieve organically. Investors buy into a company with a "show me" attitude, and management in this case has to convince their shareholders that less is more in the long run.
Buyouts boring? No way. There was enough romance, drama, and rekindling in Oracle's
But a proxy battle's entertainment value is only secondary to its material significance to the actual investors. They own a piece, no matter how fractional, of that particular company. They have every right to speak their mind and if the voices in concert are loud enough, they have every right to a response. That's why what went down at Blockbuster is so wrong. Creating a new seat on the board for Antioco and handing him back the chairmanship keys? Preposterous!
They have treated the ballot box like a trash bin -- and that's not the only thing they trashed along the way.
Some more reasons to weigh that proxy you're holding:
- Tim Beyers asked shareholders to take part in the democratic process by casting their proxies this year.
- The proxy battle was lost at Hewlett-Packard in 2002, but the war waged on.
- Billionaire Carl Icahn has been a successful corporate raider for decades.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that paper cuts can run deep when you're talking about proxy battles. He owns shares in Netflix and Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.