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Ahold Delhaize rejects calls for shareholder vote on takeover defense

Reuters

by Toby Sterling, Maiya Keidan

Dutch-Belgian supermarket group Ahold Delhaize (AD.AS) rejected calls on Wednesday for a shareholder vote on whether to retain a “poison pill” defense option against unwanted takeovers, drawing criticism from several of its investors.

At its annual meeting, the company’s boards said the defense mechanism - which is due to expire in December and gives an independent body the right to issue shares to thwart a takeover - could be extended indefinitely, and without investor approval.

Earlier Catherine Berjal, the co-founder of activist hedge fund CIAM, told Reuters that if Ahold Delhaize did not let investors decide, she would ask a judge at Amsterdam’s Enterprise Chamber to call an extraordinary shareholder meeting (EGM) to vote on the matter.

She said that while management had done a good job, there was a risk it would become complacent if it knew it was protected from potential bidders. ...

... Following the meeting, CIAM’s Berjal said: “We are disappointed at the board’s attitude and will now consider our options - all avenues to securing the best outcome for all shareholders and other stakeholders remain open.”

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