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Judge blocks Apple plan for shareholder vote

NEW YORK — A federal judge Friday blocked Apple from conducting a shareholder vote on a package of governance proposals, handing a victory to a rebel investor who is trying to persuade the company to share more cash with its investors.

US District Judge Richard Sullivan said Apple was wrong to bundle four amendments to its charter into one proposal for a vote at Wednesday’s annual meeting. Shareholders should get to vote on the amendments separately, he said. Although the ruling was preliminary, before both sides could fully make their cases, Sullivan said Apple was likely to lose. He granted dissident investors a preliminary injunction pending a full trial.

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Greenlight Capital, a hedge fund run by Wall Street maverick David Einhorn, sued Apple because it wants the company to issue ‘‘iPrefs,’’ preferred shares with a guaranteed dividend, as a way to commit the company to sharing its massive profits with shareholders.

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