GM shareholders reject activist investor bid to split the firm's stock and shake up the company board

Rebecca Smith
Chief executive Barra said GM valued its shareholders' perspectives
Chief executive Barra said GM valued its shareholders' perspectives (Source: Getty)

General Motors has been boosted by today's results from its annual general meeting (AGM), as shareholders rejected proposals from a hedge fund investor to split GM's shares into two classes and shake up its board.

According to preliminary voting results from GM's AGM today, the car giant's board nominees were elected "with between 84 and 99 per cent of the votes cast", while the dual-class stock proposal was defeated with "more than 91 per cent of votes cast against the proposal, or 96 per cent excluding Greenlight's shares".

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Greenlight, which owns a 3.6 per cent stake in GM, had ramped up pressure on GM ahead of the AGM, launching a website encouraging shareholders to vote for its proposals to appoint three directors to GM's board and divide the common stock into two classes.

It wanted to shake up the firm's structure to help boost the value of GM's stock. The car giant's stock price hasn't edged up much in value in years, despite the company posting impressive profits.

The investor said its proposal would "unlock tens of billions of dollars of shareholder value and was specifically designed not to change GM's business strategy, capital allocation priorities or financial policy".

GM's chief executive Mary Barra though, had said to shareholders that there was no evidence Greenlight's proposal will work and there may not be any demand for the new stock.

In a statement today, Barra said: “On behalf of our board and management, we appreciate the significant support of our shareholders as we continue to transform GM and increase the value of their investment."

We value the perspectives of our shareholders and will continue to actively engage with them – and relevant external experts, as we enhance our core business, deploy capital to higher-return opportunities, and advance our leadership in the future of personal mobility.

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