P&G Bows to Pressure, Agrees to Wella EGM

25 November 2003

German haircare giant Wella, recently swallowed by Procter & Gamble [WAMN: 01-Aug-03], has finally bowed to demands from dissident holders of the company's preference shares to call an extraordinary general meeting.

The shareholders refuse to accept P&G’s offer of €65 ($76.69; £45.21) per share, arguing they have been offered less favourable terms than ordinary shareholders. Just two weeks ago, P&G dismissed such a meeting as "not necessary".

Said a spokesman for the aggrieved shareholder group: "This shows [P&G] miscalculated when they dismissed the call as 'no big deal'". Although Wella's annual meeting is scheduled for February, the shareholders are unwilling to wait. "February is a long way off,"said the spokesman, "especially given the speed with which P&G appears to be annexing the Wella business."

The shareholder group also wants the appointment of a special investigator to examine the conduct of Wella's supervisory and management board following its acquisition by the US consumer giant -- the globe's largest advertiser.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff