UPDATE 1-Fairfax postpones vote aimed at protecting Watsa's voting stake

Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:23pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha

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 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 until Aug. 13.

Fairfax said in a statement that holders of a significant number of shares have not yet voted them and the delay will allow them more time to do so.

It said the postponement also will allow Fairfax management time to continue discussions with investors concerning the proposed amendment.

The move comes after two of Canada's top pension fund managers, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and the British Columbia Investment Management Corp (BCIMC), both disclosed that they plan to vote against the changes.

BCIMC said it cannot support the proposal as it does not treat all shareholders equally and serves to extend Fairfax's dual class share structure indefinitely.

CPPIB said although the amendment contains a number of positive elements, it would lead to a disparity in voting power between the company's share classes.   Continued...