Autocracy in the boardroom
The high-voting shareholders of Naspers and Prosus have ensured the simplification of the companies’ cross-holding structure. But on issues like pay, ordinary investors are not happy
It is no coincidence that the biggest chunk of the value of Naspers/Prosus comes from China, with Russia making a sizeable contribution until recently. The company’s governance style fits seamlessly into the autocratic style of these two global powers.
With just enough of a veneer of democracy to enable regulators to approve their listing on public stock exchanges, the companies’ voting structure ensured that the latest restructuring proposal would get the necessary shareholder approval. Indeed, the two groups’ high-voting shares (A for Naspers, B for Prosus) have ensured the passing of every resolution ever presented to shareholders since Naspers listed in 1995 and Prosus in 2019. ..
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