Fairfax postpones vote aimed at protecting Watsa's voting stake

Mon Jul 20, 2015 1:34pm EDT
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TORONTO, July 20 (Reuters) - Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd said on Monday it has postponed a special shareholders' meeting that had been called to vote on a change that would preserve Chairman and Chief Executive Prem Watsa's voting stake in the company he has built and run for more than three decades.

The Canadian financial-services company's vote, originally scheduled for July 21, has been postponed to Aug. 13.

Fairfax said in a statement that holders of a significant number of shares have not yet voted them and that the delay will allow them more time to do so. It said the postponement will allow Fairfax's management time to continue discussions with investors concerning the proposed amendment. It declined to provide further details.

"We encourage the numerous shareholders who have not yet voted on this proposed amendment to do so," said Watsa in the brief statement. "We believe that this amendment is in the best interests of Fairfax and its shareholders."

Watsa, a famed contrarian investor often dubbed "Canada's Warren Buffett," has increased Fairfax's common shareholders' equity from around $8 million in 1985 to $8.8 billion today. Its share price has soared from below C$5 in 1985 to more than C$660 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Peter Galloway)