SoftwareOne says its board plan backed by ISS amid power struggle

ZURICH (Reuters) – The board of Swiss IT services provider SoftwareOne said on Monday its plan to resolve a boardroom tussle with founding shareholders over the company’s future has won the backing of proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).

Daniel von Stockar, Rene Gilli and B. Curti Holding AG, SoftwareOne’s three founding shareholders, are seeking to vote out the board of directors to pave the way for a takeover. Together they control around 29% of the firm’s stock.

Last month SoftwareOne’s present board pitched a compromise proposal that recommended electing “a proportionate number” of the founding shareholders’ nominees to the board. These nominees would be von Stockar, Annabella Bassler and Andrea Sieber.

SoftwareOne said ISS had recommended voting for all nine nominees proposed by its board at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM), including the three nominees representing the founding shareholders group. The AGM is scheduled for April 18.

ISS recommended voting against the full replacement of the board proposed by the founding shareholders, SoftwareOne said, noting that the advisors’ report classified all nominees put forward by the shareholder group as “non-independent”.

“The board of directors thus sees its position confirmed, that a balanced board would be in the best interests of all stakeholders,” the company said in a statement, adding that this approach would “help restore calm to the company.”

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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