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Verizon takes hard line on surveillance vote: activists


By Ross Kerber BOSTON (Reuters) – Verizon Communications Inc told activist investors on Wednesday that it might skip a vote on a shareholder proposal that seeks details on the companys cooperation with government surveillance efforts. Verizons law firm Jones Day said in a November 25 letter that the company would exclude the measure from its 2014 proxy statement unless the activists did more to verify their eligibility to file the proposal. The companys response appears to be more aggressive than the stance ATT Inc took against a similar proposal, said Jonas Kron, senior vice president for Trillium Asset Management, a co-filer of the measures at both telecommunications companies. Kron said Trillium has provided more detail, but that Verizons action suggests it will sidestep the usual process in which companies ask the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to skip votes on shareholder proposals.

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