In Japan, greater governance activism on the part of investment funds.



This article comes from Japan and highlights a more activist institutional investor.  Years ago, Peter Drucker predicted the rise of institutional shareholder activism.  It appears to be happening in japan.



Murakami Fund demands majority of Hanshin board members

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Murakami Fund, an investment fund led by financier Yoshiaki Murakami, said Tuesday it had urged Hanshin Electric Railway Co. to include nine persons of the fund's choice in the railway firm's 16-member board at a shareholders meeting on June 29.

Hanshin Electric Railway has strongly opposed the proposal, maintaining the fund's move is intended to gain control of the railway firm's management. Hanshin Electric has not decided whether to include the proposal in the meeting agenda.

The Murakami Fund held a 45.73 percent stake in Hanshin Electric Railway as of Feb. 22. According to the proposal, Murakami himself would be one of the eight board members.

In the proposal, the fund requests nine people--eight chosen by the fund and Eiji Tamai, an external board member at Hanshin and special adviser to Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co.--be appointed board members.

At the meeting, Hanshin intends to request nine board members, whose terms are expiring, be reelected.

If the fund rejects the request and approves its own proposal, the 16 board members will include eight from the current management team and eight from the fund.

As a condition for withdrawing the proposal, the fund requested that Hanshin submit a measure at the meeting to halve the number of board members to eight, which would be formed from three Hanshin choices, Tamai and four people recommended by the fund.

Because the fund has a de facto majority of shareholder voting rights, it could approve its proposal by itself at the meeting.

Hanshin released a statement Tuesday night saying the proposal is aimed at having board members designated by the fund account for a majority of the board.

It also criticized the fund for seeking to grab control of the firm's management.

Regarding requests made by the fund during negotiations since September, such as splitting the real estate business from the firm and listing the Hanshin Tigers professional baseball team, Hanshin reiterated that integrated management as a group would be necessary.

It also said it would bring forward discussions on management integration with Hankyu Holdings Inc., which attempted to obtain Hanshin shares through a takeover bid.