AOL Inc. successfully fended off an attempt by dissident investors to unseat several of its board members, according to preliminary results of a proxy vote revealed Thursday at its annual shareholder meeting in Boston.
The company said that all eight of its existing board members were reelected by shareholders despite an aggressive effort by Starboard Value LP, one of AOL’s largest shareholders, to win seats on the company’s board for three of its own candidates.
Starboard has specifically taken aim at AOL’s investment in Patch, the company’s network of hyper-local news sites. Starboard said that AOL, which has struggled in recent years with declining revenues and layoffs, lost $500 million a year on growing those local sites.
AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong has been under intense scrutiny from investors as he has attempted to transform the iconic Internet brand that spun off from Time Warner Inc. in 2009. Armstrong called the deal with Time Warner “the worst merger in corporate history.”
Over past several years, AOL has invested heavily to transform its legacy Internet service business into a digital publishing company. In addition to building out its Patch sites, AOL paid $315 million in 2011 to buy the Huffington Post, the popular website founded by Ariana Huffington.
In April, AOL agreed to sell 800 of its patents to Microsoft Corp. for $1.06 billion.
The company held its annual shareholder meeting at Boston University’s School of Management. A company spokeswoman said the meetings rotate to different locations around the country every year. AOL chief executive Armstrong is from Littleton.