Shareholders of Japan’s Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd on Thursday voted down all four of the board candidates nominated by ValueAct Capital, dismissing the U.S. investment firm’s attempt to shake up the retail giant’s board.
ValueAct, long critical of the 7-Eleven convenience store operator’s conglomerate structure, called for President Ryuichi Isaka to be among those replaced with its candidates. Isaka and other candidates backed by the company were all elected at its annual shareholders meeting.
The proxy fight had intensified in the run-up to the shareholders meeting as both sides launched public campaigns – a rare move for ValueAct as it is better known for working quietly behind the scenes with management of target companies.
The focus now shifts to details of the vote, which are expected to be available later on Thursday.
A large portion – about 10% – of the company is still owned by the founding family and the presence of activist investors is small. As such, support of more than 30% for ValueAct candidates would be significant, investors say.
ValueAct, which owns 4.4% of the company, had urged it to undertake a strategic review and consider spinning off its 7-Eleven chain or selling the entire company.