Friday headline roundup

Wal-Mart Board Criticized by ISS; More Independence Needed on Pay and Handling of Bribe Probe, ISS Says (Wall Street Journal, 5/26/2014)

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., which advises big shareholders like mutual funds how to vote on corporate ballots, is concerned the company hasn’t disclosed which, if any, of its executives might be found culpable in an investigation into alleged bribery overseas. ISS also said it is troubled by a string of adjustments to pay targets and plans that together have the effect of insulating executives’ pay somewhat from the consequences of Wal-Mart’s declining performance. The recommendations are unlikely to have much practical effect given the Walton family’s control over the company. But they do highlight the recent challenges Wal-Mart is facing. The retailer recently reported its fifth straight quarterly decline in U.S. sales and said there is more weakness to come. It is struggling in international markets as well.

 

Wal-Mart Shareholders Want to Hear More About This Bribery Problem (BloombergView, 5/27/2014)

Should you vote to re-elect Wal-Mart chairman S. Robson Walton and director Michael T. Duke? Hahaha who cares, your vote doesn’t count, over 50 percent of Wal-Mart’s shares are controlled by Walton family members so they can do whatever they want. If you’re actually filling out a ballot, just write in my name or whatever, it doesn’t matter.

 
 
Wal-Mart Workers Plan Strikes Ahead Of Company’s Shareholders Meeting (Business Insider, 5/29/2014)

The striking workers will primarily be mothers who are fighting for higher pay, better benefits, and more opportunities for full-time work, organizers said Thursday. They are also protesting what they call retaliation against workers who speak out against the company. 

 

Why Walmart needs to support a higher minimum wage (Yahoo! Finance, 5/27/2014)

Breakingviews estimates that Walmart could net an additional $13 billion if the minimum wage jumps to $10 an hour. At least one quarter of Walmart shoppers work in minimum-wage jobs and they’re more likely to spend that extra cash than save it, Cox notes. For now, Walmart has stayed mum on the issue. But that’s to the company’s — and employees’ — disadvantage, Cox says. “It’s the right thing for the working man, who also happens to be their customer,” he adds.  

What do you think?