Shareholders petitioning the board for the special meeting right propose either to create the right or, in circumstances where the right already exists, lower the minimum share ownership threshold required to exercise the right. As of June 30, 2016, 295 companies in the S&P 500 already provided their shareholders with the right to call a special meeting outside of the usual annual meeting, as compared with 286 companies at this time last year. Among companies in the Russell 3000, approximately 1,300 provide their shareholders with the right to call special meetings. During the 2016 proxy season, 19 special meeting shareholder proposals went to a vote at Russell 3000 companies. Of these, five proposals sought to create the right, one of which received majority shareholder support to create the right for holders of 15% of the company’s outstanding common stock. The other 14 proposals sought to lower the ownership threshold with respect to an existing right, two of which received majority support; these proposals requested to lower the threshold of an existing right to 10% from either 25% or 50%. Overall, shareholder proposals relating to special meetings received average shareholder support of 41.5% this proxy season.
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