© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Toshiba logos are featured at Toshiba Corp.’s annual general meeting with its shareholders in Tokyo, Japan, June 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, has voted in favor of a shareholder proposal asking Toshiba (OTC:) Corp to buyout offers from private equity firms ahead of an extraordinary meeting on March 24.

The fund voted against the Japanese industrial conglomerate’s plan to split itself up by divesting its appliances business, a voting record showed.

According to Refinitiv, it owns 1.22% of Toshiba.

Similarly, Florida’s State Board of Administration, with a 0.22% stake in Toshiba, voted against the management-backed split plan and in favor of the proposal from Singapore-based 3D Investment Partners.

While their stakes are small, the support of such leading institutional investors for 3D’s proposal could spur activist demands from shareholders that the board fully explore alternatives to the breakup.

Earlier this week, one of Toshiba’s outside executives said he would support 3D’s proposal, breaking ranks with the public stance of the company’s executives.

Toshiba has said there is no change in the board’s mind to oppose the shareholder proposal and that it will continue to do everything it can to gain shareholder support for the split plan.

Glass Lewis, an influential proxy consultancy, has supported 3D’s proposal, but rival Institutional Shareholder Services has not recommended voting for it, although it opposes the spin-off plan.

The Norwegian fund – managed by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) – explained the rationale for its vote, saying it takes into account factors such as whether there is sufficient transparency and whether all shareholders are treated equally when evaluating corporate transactions.

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This post Norwegian state fund backs call on Toshiba to solicit buyout offers By Reuters was original published at “https://www.investing.com/news/stock-market-news/norway-backs-shareholder-call-for-toshiba-to-solicit-buyout-offers-2787889”

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