UK group demands all BAE shareholders get merger vote

The UK Shareholders' Association said on Wednesday it had written to the chairman of BAE Systems and the UK Takeover Panel to insist those who own shares in the British defence company via nominee accounts be allowed to vote on a mooted $45 billion merger with Airbus parent EADS.

"The outcome could be decided by holders of less than 15 percent of the shares, because as many as 86.5 percent of the shares are held in nominee accounts, a substantial number of which will be for private individuals," the UKSA said.

It said in letters this week to BAE Chairman Dick Olver and Sir Peter Mason, the company's senior independent director, it had described the situation where such shareholders hold no vote on such matters as "shocking, utterly reprehensible and no less than a scandal".