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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

DIVISION OF CORPORATION FINANCE

INFORMAL PROCEDURES REGARING SHARHOLDER PROPOSALS

The Division of Corporation Finance believes that its responsibility with respect to matters arising under Rule 14a-8 [17 CFR 240.14a-8], as with other matters under the proxy rules, is to aid those who must comply with the rule by offering informal advice and suggestions and to determine, initially, whether or not it may be appropriate in a particular matter to recommend enforcement action to the Commission. In connection with a shareholder proposal under Rule 14a-8, the Division’s staff considers the information furnished to it by the company in support of its intention to exclude the proposals from the company’s proxy materials, as well as any information furnished by the proponent or the proponent’s representative.

Although Rule 14a-8(k) does not require any communications from shareholders to the Commission’s staff, the staff will always consider information concerning alleged violations of the statutes and rules administered by the Commission, including arguments as to whether or not activities proposed to be taken would violate the statute or rule involved. The receipt by the staff of such information, however, should not be construed as changing the staff’s informal procedures and proxy review into a formal or adversarial procedure.

It is important to note that the staff’s no-action responses to Rule 14a-8(j) submissions reflect only informal views. The determinations reached in these no-action letters do not and cannot adjudicate the merits of a company’s position with respect to the proposal. Only a court such as a U.S. District Court can decide whether a company is obligated to include shareholder proposals in its proxy materials. Accordingly, a discretionary determination not to recommend or take Commission enforcement action does not preclude a proponent, or any shareholder of a company, from pursuing any rights he or she may have against the company in court, should the company’s management omit the proposal from the company’s proxy materials.

 

http://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/14a-8-informal-procedures.htm


Modified: 11/02/2011