Shareholders to Vote on eBay Lobbying Disclosures at Annual Meeting
By Ina Steiner
eBay will hold its shareholders meeting in April, and on the agenda are two shareholder proposals, both of which the eBay Board of Directors opposes. eBay will hold the annual meeting on April 18th at its headquarters in San Jose, California.
The Missionary of Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which holds 14,223 shares of eBay common stock, is proposing that eBay publish an annual report disclosing its policy and procedures governing lobbying and grassroots lobbying communications. It would like to see included in the report the amount of payments (and recipient names) for all lobbying activities and a disclosure of eBay's membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
The missionary explained that eBay's corporate lobbying exposes its own organization to risks that could affect it and said it has a strong interest in full disclosure of its own company's lobbying. "As shareholders, we encourage transparency and accountability in the use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation both directly and indirectly." The Oblates, a non-profit serving the poor and needy around the world, said, "Absent a system of accountability, (eBay's) company assets could be used for objectives contrary to eBay's long-term interests."
eBay's board opposes the proposal, stating it already discloses its lobbying activity and complies with existing legal requirements on disclosure and reporting of lobbying activity, but then argued that "providing any additional unilateral disclosures or activity reports could put eBay at a disadvantage relative to its competitors, would result in an unnecessary use of the company's resources, and would not be in the best interests of the company or its stockholders."
Trillium Asset Management is putting forth a proposal that the eBay Board of Directors publish a report explaining how it is overseeing privacy and data security risks. The eBay Board opposes the proposal, summarizing its opposition by writing:
"Given the company's extensive privacy-related disclosure described above, the Audit Committee's oversight of privacy and data security matters, and the fact that eBay is widely recognized as having best in class privacy practices, producing the requested report would result in an unnecessary and unproductive use of the company's resources and would not be in the best interests of the company or its stockholders."
Also on the agenda, according to eBay's Proxy statement, are more routine matters, including voting for three directors (David M. Moffett, Richard T. Schlosberg, III and Thomas J. Tierney) and ratifying the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as independent auditors for fiscal year ending December 31, 2013.
Shareholders will also vote to approve, on an advisory basis, the compensation of eBay's named executive officers.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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