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Glass Lewis backs Telus' plan to scrap dual shares

Tags: Telus

Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. on Monday advised its clients to back Telus Corp.'s (T-T) plan to merge its two classes of shares, a boost for the Canadian telecom company as a major investor seeks to block the move.

The endorsement matches that a week ago from advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. ISS and Glass Lewis both provide independent advice to large institutional investors ahead of shareholder votes.

Hedge fund Mason Capital Management LLC, a major Telus investor, is challenging the proposal, arguing that scrapping the two-tier share structure would discriminate against holders of the voting stock by diluting the shares.

Glass Lewis dismissed that idea.

"While we recognize the validity of some of Mason's concerns, we nonetheless continue to consider the simplified share structure and improvement in corporate governance resulting from the conversion to be in the long-term best interests of both common and non-voting shareholders," it said in a note to its clients.

Shareholders vote on the resolution on May 9 in Edmonton, Alberta.

The dual-share setup was designed to comply with laws limiting foreign control of Canadian telecom companies at a time when U.S.-based Verizon Communications Inc (VZ-N) was a major investor in Telus.

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