Shareholder proposals in the Facebook proxy statement demonstrate some of the disadvantages of being a prominent public company.
Facebook has filed its proxy statement for its upcoming annual meeting on May 22, 2014. I’m sure they look back fondly on their days as a private company when they didn’t have to deal with the silliness of actually having to response to a proposal of a holder of 100 shares (out of 1.99 billion shares).
Facebook’s proxy includes five shareholder proposals, which will be voted upon at the meeting if the proponents of the proposals are present at the meeting and submit the proposals for a vote. Ain’t corporate democracy wonderful?
Two holders of 100 shares don’t like the dual class voting structure and want to change it “to protect shareholder value.”
Some nuns with less than 1,000 shares want more disclosure around Facebook’s lobbying activity.
A pension plan with less than 250 shares wants Facebook to create and implement a policy “with consistent incorporation of corporate values as defined by Facebook’s policies and public affirmations into Company and FB PAC political and electioneering contribution decisions, and requiring reporting to shareholders at reasonable expense and excluding confidential information on a quarterly basis listing any electioneering or political contribution expenditures occurring during the prior quarter, identifying any contributions that raised an issue of congruency with corporate values, and stating the justification for any such exceptions.” Whatever that means.
More nuns with 100 shares are worked up over childhood obesity and food marketing to youth and want Facebook to produce a report about it.
The Comptroller of New York, with about 314,000 shares, wants to waste Facebook’s time with a sustainability report.
All this demonstrates that Facebook now gets to spend its time and energy responding to various corporate governance and interest group cranks over things that have nothing to do with selling advertising and generating fees for in-app payments. Welcome to the grown up public company world.