The antics of the Glaziers (the owners of MU, in case you are not into footie) in trying to ensure that post-IPO, they can “fix” minority shareholders reminds me of the PAP’s attempts in the late 1980s to restrict the choice of voters.
When faced with the possibilty of losing more than a few seats in Parly, they resorted to Group Representative Constituencies (GRCS), where voters were forced to vote for a group of MPs headed by one (possibly two) cabinet ministers, not an individual MP. Over the years, the system was used to introduce such MPs like Rin Tin Tin (aka Kate Spade), “Waz so great abt NS?” Puthu, and “No money, no dignity” Lim. GRCs worked for the PAP until this year, when the PAP lost a GRC, losing five seats. Two cabinet ministers and one junior minister lost their seats in Parly.
Well the attempt to introduce two classes of shares (with different voting rights) and when that failed, to issue non-voting preference shares (that unusually do not carry a dividend that is fixed and cumulative*) indicates that the Glazers are just as concerned as the PAP about the consequences of the unwashed masses having the vote to push them around.
Too bad for conspiracy theorists that the Glaziers are Jews. Otherwise, it could be spun that they are related to one Harry Lee, the master architect of the GRCs.
But seriously, there is a link that conspiracy theorists can spin around. Our very own SGX that has been assidiously courting, then faciltating the Glazers, is 23.5% owned by Temasek. Temasek cannot vote its Temasek shares, but that’s only a detail to conspiracy theorists. After all, a senior SGX official was from Temasek. And Temasek’s president was SGX’s ex-CEO. And conspiracy theorists know who owns Temask, don’t they?
*These characteristics make them more like common shares. The reason why preference shares carry fixed dividends and why dividends are cumulative is to make them safer investments. And to compensate holders for the absence of voting rights, and the inability to share in the gains that can accrue to ordinary shareholders. Absent dividends that are fixed and cumulative; they are like common shares absent the voting rights and the potentially unlimited upside.
To be fair though, if the company is liquidated, the preferential shareholders will have priority over ordinary shareholders when assets are divided. Unless the Glaziers have gotten rid of this too,