Norway's fund backs activists' bid at Alphabet meeting

OSLO • Norway's US$1 trillion (S$1.3 trillion) wealth fund backed activist shareholders' attempt to force Google parent Alphabet to report openly on global content controversies, voting records showed yesterday.

The vote at the annual meeting of Alphabet shareholders on Wednesday was the fund's latest push for transparency among Silicon Valley giants.

The motion, which ultimately failed, could have forced the company to detail the risks it faces from controversies ranging from fake news to election interference.

Norges Bank Investment Management, operator of the world's largest sovereign fund, last week backed a similar proposal at Facebook to report on "fake news", and on Tuesday sought to wrest the role of Tesla chairman away from Mr Elon Musk, the carmaker's chief executive officer.

At Alphabet, the fund also supported a motion that would have forced the company to report on gender pay gaps, but stopped short of backing proposals on board diversity and linking sustainability to senior executives' pay.

The Norwegian fund, which owns 1.4 per cent of all globally listed shares, held a 0.8 per cent stake in Alphabet at the end of last year, worth US$5.86 billion, according to the fund's own data.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2018, with the headline 'Norway's fund backs activists' bid at Alphabet meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe