Japan's Seven & i pres. reappointed in proxy fight vs activist fund

Shareholders of Japanese retail giant Seven & i Holdings Co. on Thursday approved the reappointment of Ryuichi Isaka as president, rejecting a demand by a U.S. activist fund for the removal of the top executive in a high-profile proxy fight.

ValueAct Capital Management LP proposed naming four candidates it had selected as board members at an annual shareholders' meeting, saying the current management is not doing enough to maximize its shareholder value.

But the proposal was rejected, with more than half of the shareholders participating in the meeting approving the company's plan to tap Isaka and 14 others as board members of the retailer.

The incident is the latest battle between Seven & i and ValueAct, which has a 4.4 percent stake in the company.

The U.S. fund has demanded the retailer spin off its 7-Eleven convenience store chain to focus on its mainstay business and sell its struggling Ito-Yokado supermarket unit in a bid to increase its corporate value.

Seven & i has said the proposal was only about raising shareholder value in the short-term, arguing its know-how in supermarket operations is essential for food product development in its convenience store unit.

© Kyodo News