A witness at the trial of Silvio Berlusconi has said strippers dressed as nuns performed for the former Italian prime minister at a party. Model Imane Fadil said she had been given 2,000 euros (£1,650; $2,614) by Mr Berlusconi the first time she attended a “bunga bunga” party…She alleges that the first night she went, she saw two young women in nun costumes stripping for the prime minister. One, she said, was Nicole Minetti, now a regional councillor for Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party in Milan. Ms Fadil claimed that Ms Minetti and the other woman dressed as a nun stayed the night at the villa, and that women who attended bunga bunga parties were paid more for sex. [BBC]
For some reason it is corporate governance day at Dealbreaker, so here is a grab-bag of inchoate nonsense (for a change!). First of all look at this:
The third-largest U.S. proxy adviser recommended that El Paso Corp shareholders vote against a proposed $23 billion sale of the company to Kinder Morgan Inc, switching its position after comments made by a Delaware judge.
Egan-Jones Proxy Services said in a report that it was withdrawing its endorsement of the deal because of “the conflicts of interest cited by (Delaware Chancery Court judge Leo Strine) and the attendant doubts cast on the deal.”
How should you take this? Well, one way to take it would be: if you paid me to tell you how to vote on things, you’d probably want me to look into those things and decide if they’re good things for you, and if they are tell you to vote for them and if not etc. So Egan-Jones* went and looked at this merger and decided it was a good merger and that its clients should vote for it. Then they learned about the conflicts of interest cited by the Delaware court, most of which were publicly available long before the opinion came out,** and changed their minds. Suggesting that they didn’t really do a bang-up job of examining the merger to begin with.
But that’s a stupid way of looking at Egan-Jones’s role because, really, you’re an EP shareholder and you’re like “oh Egan-Jones ran a DCF and this price looks good to them”? You can go read the DCFs of actual investment banks if that’s the sort of thing that gets you going. Nobody’s actually paying proxy advisors (do people pay them? I don’t know) for actual advice on how they should actually vote their shares. Instead they’re paying (maybe?) for some vague patina of good “corporate governance,” which means something like “good processes and independent boards and no conflicts of interest” and gets lots of chin-stroking academic articles written about it. Read more »
As you may have heard, Goldman Sachs will hold its annual shareholder meeting tomorrow. Unlike the past 12 years, in which the event has been held in New York, Friday’s meeting will go down in the Garden State. The bank has not explained the move, and while it does have a building across the river, one would hope you’re not falling for that. Read more »