pdf

O'Melveny & Myers Client Alaska Air Group Receives Groundbreaking Shareholder Proposal No-Action Letter

January 1, 0001

 

On March 5, 2009, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance agreed that Alaska Air Group could exclude three shareholder proposals from its proxy materials in reliance on Rule 14a-8(c) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which permits each shareholder to submit only one proposal to a company for each meeting of shareholders. The Division’s position in its no-action letter to Alaska Air Group was in response to a first-of-its-kind argument under Rule 14a-8(c) and comes after the Division denied a number of no-action requests during the current proxy season based on similar facts.

Similar to the Alaska Air Group request, the nine denied no-action requests related to the purported submission of individual proposals by two or more company shareholders. In each situation, another person acted as “agent” for these nominal proponents who had each executed a proxy that granted broad authority to the “agent” to act on the shareholder’s behalf. In seeking to exclude the proposals, the denied no-action requests took the position that the nominal proponents were, in fact, alter egos of the “agent” and, therefore, the “agent” should be deemed the true proponent. Alaska Air Group’s no-action request, instead, looked at the nature of the proxy authority granted to the “agent” and made the argument that the nature of that proxy authority caused the “agent” to be the “beneficial owner” of the nominal proponents’ securities. As the beneficial owner of the nominal proponents’ securities, the “agent” had, therefore, submitted more than one proposal to the company. The Division agreed with Alaska Air Group’s Rule 14a-8(c) analysis and concurred that it could exclude all three of the proposals submitted by the “agent” for the nominal proponents.

O’Melveny & Myers partners Marty Dunn and Andor Terner, along with counsels Shelly Heyduk and Rebekah Toton, advised Alaska Air Group with regard to the no-action request.


Please contact any of the attorneys listed below if you have any questions related to this Client Alert.

Beijing
Yin Tai Centre, Office Tower
37th Floor
2 Jianguomenwai Avenue
Chao Yang District
Beijing, 100022
People’s Republic of China

Lawrence Sussman

Eric Zabinski

+86-10-6563-5205

+86-10-6563-4639

Century City
1999 Avenue of the Stars
Seventh Floor
Los Angeles
CA 90067-6035

Steven Grossman
David J. Johnson, Jr.

+1-310-246-6727
+1-310-246-6816

Hong Kong
31st Floor, AIG Tower
1 Connaught Road Central
Hong Kong S.A.R.

Mark Fairbairn

+852-3512-2385

London
Warwick Court
5 Paternoster Square
London EC4M 7DX

John Daghlian

John Van de North

Solomon Wifa

+44-20-7558-4862

+44-20-7558-4801

+44-20-7558-4866

Los Angeles
400 South Hope Street
15th Floor
Los Angeles
CA 90071-2899

Mark Easton

John Laco

John-Paul Motley

Kathryn Sanders

+1-213-430-6549

+1-213-430-6544
+1-213-430-6100

+1-213-430-6376

Newport Beach
610 Newport Center Drive
17th Floor
Newport Beach
CA 92660-6429

Jay Herron

Andor Terner



+1-949-823-6922

+1-949-823-6980

New York
Times Square Tower
7 Times Square
New York, NY 10036

Harvey Eisenberg

Greg Gilbert

Phillip Isom

Doron Lipshitz

Ilan Nissan

John Scott

+1-212-408-2416

+1-212-408-2469

+1-212-408-2418

+1-212-326-2220

+1-212-408-2443

+1-212-408-2485

San Francisco
Two Embarcadero Center
28th Floor
San Francisco
CA 94111

Peter Healy

 

+1-415-984-8833

+1-415-984-8756



Shanghai
Plaza 66, 37th Floor
1266 Nanjing Road West
Shanghai 200040
People’s Republic of China

Kurt Berney

+86-21-2307-7007

Silicon Valley
2765 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park
CA 94025-7019

Timothy Curry
Warren Lazarow
Steve Sonne
Sam Zucker

+1-650-473-2627
+1-650-473-2637
+1-650-473-2647
+1-650-473-2638

Singapore  
9 Temasek Boulevard
#09-01 Suntec Tower Two
Singapore 038989
Singapore 

Bertie Mehigan

+65-6407-1528

Washington, D.C.
1625 Eye Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

Martin Dunn

Robert Plesnarski
David Pommerening

Christopher Salter

Todd Triller

+1-202-383-5418

+1-202-383-5149
+1-202-383-5110

+1-202-383-5371

+1-202-383-5130