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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Improved Communication and an Open Door Policy from Everton

George Orwell's 1984In an apparent bid to silence the voices of concerned minority shareholders and to head off the possibility of a further embarrassing EGM, Everton Football Club have announced an amendment to their Articles of Association in relation to the petitioning, by shareholders, for the convening of General Meetings.

The requirement to obtain support from 20% of the shareholders for an EGM has now been replaced with an obligation to acquire support from the owners of 10% of the paid up capital (shares); this effectively means that the body of minority shareholders, without the support of a major shareholder, will be unable to publicly put their concerns to the board

Six weeks ago Everton's chairman, Bill Kenwright, told the newly appointed acting CEO, Robert Elstone, “There's a feeling that communications aren't good. I want an open door policy”

Last week Everton's solicitor stated that the second resolution was a “legal nonsense” in requesting for a show of hands and farcically went on to urge the petitioners “that common sense should prevail, and that they should accept the legal position that, on a resolution of the members, the appropriate majority of shareholders can out vote the minority.” They went on to say: “Accordingly, please confirm that the threat of a second petition to convene a further General Meeting will be withdrawn to avoid unnecessary cost to Everton and the wasted management time.”

This threat was not withdrawn and in light of the fact that the vast majority of shareholders present on the evening of the 3rd September 2008 voted in favour of the resolution the current board appeared to have little confidence in winning a second vote, by a show of hands, on “the ability of the board to act in the long term interests of Everton Football Club”

For purposes of clarity and by way of explanation, KEIOC have always agreed the majority of shareholders can out vote the minority.

Today's announcement, whilst not totally unexpected, claims to be simply putting Everton in line with its contemporaries; so that would appear to be the end of “The people's club” being different to all other clubs?

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