Japan’s Cosmo Calls Another Shareholder Vote in Activist Defense

REUTERS/Yuya Shino
A light is seen under a signboard of Cosmo Energy Holdings’ Cosmo Oil service station in Tokyo, Japan, December 17, 2015. Picture taken December 17, 2015.

TOKYO (Reuters) – Cosmo Energy Holdings said on Tuesday it would call another shareholder vote on a “poison pill” takeover defense against a group of activist investors, escalating the high-profile battle.

Cosmo, however, said it will not eliminate the group, led by prominent activist Yoshiaki Murakami, from voting this time, unlike the previous vote in June.

The tactics, a so-called majority-of-minority vote, has fueled concerns among governance experts that it could be interpreted as authorizing a board to refuse to count the votes of certain unwelcome shareholders in some circumstances.