Standard & Poors Takes a (Small) Stand for Shareholders' Rights

Markets Motley Fool

In this segment from Motley Fool Money, host Chris Hill, Million Dollar Portfolio's Jason Moser, Total Income's Ron Gross, and Supernova and Rule Breakers' David Kretzmann discuss what led the S&P to ban companies with dual-class share structures. It certainly looks like a rebuke of Snap's (NYSE: SNAP) IPO. But will we see this policy applied retroactively to current S&P 500 members?

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Aug. 4, 2017.

Chris Hill: Earlier in the week, Standard & Poor's announced that it was enforcing a ban on companies with dual-class share structures to join the S&P 500 Index. This is seen, Jason, very much as a shot across the bow at Snap, because before Snap went public, they put out an S-1 that said, "Nobody gets any voting rights, period."

Jason Moser: Yeah, I'm sure in the executive suite, they're probably looking around and saying, "Hey, that's not fair, we're not the only ones." And there's a point to that, for sure. But I think this was the straw that really broke the camel's back. They went into this IPO stating that, this is the situation, and if you want to be a shareholder, that's great, but you're going to have zero say-so. And that typically runs counter to the notion of being a public company. That's not to say there aren't other companies out there that don't have a similar share structure, but I think that Snap could have gone about this business a little bit more diplomatically, so to speak. It seems like between Snap and Uber, Uber isn't public yet, but these two companies are in a race to see who can step in poop more often, and so far it seems like Snap's winning, but Uber is right on their tail.

David Kretzmann: I feel like for the S&P's decision to have a lot of sting, they should kick out Alphabet and Under Armour --

Ron Gross: Good luck with that.

Kretzmann: Yeah, probably not going to happen.

Hill: You going to hold your breath on that?

Kretzmann: No, I don't think so.

Moser: [laughs] That would have Wall Street up in arms.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Chris Hill owns shares of UA. David Kretzmann owns shares of GOOG, UAA, and UA. Jason Moser owns shares of UAA and UA. Ron Gross owns shares of GOOG. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends GOOGL, GOOG, UAA, and UA. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.