Tucked away in Walmart’s recent proxy statement, under the heading “Recent Governance Enhancements – Shareholder Rights,” is this fun tidbit: “Shareholders holding 10% or more of the company’s common stock may request special shareholders’ meetings.”
Here is the list of people who own more than five percent of Walmart’s shares (plus the percentage of shares they own)—i.e., the people who are now permitted to request special meetings:
Alice L. Walton: 50.57%
Jim C. Walton: 50.25%
John T. Walton Estate Trust: 49.88%
S. Robson Walton: 49.99%
So, let’s see: the Waltons, the Waltons, and the Waltons, who already control the results of all shareholder votes and have three family members on the company board, can call special shareholder meetings. Gotcha. This is not really a “governance enhancement” as much as it is an extra benefit to the Waltons for being born into the country’s richest family.