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Glass Lewis Recommends Shareholders Fully Support BlackRock Board Nominees at BFZ, BNY and MYN, and Reject Saba's Proposal to Terminate BlackRock as Investment Adviser of BFZ on WHITE Proxy Card at Upcoming CEF Annual Meetings

Business Wire 11-Jun-2024 11:04 AM

  • ISS Also Recommends Shareholders Vote FOR ALL BlackRock Board Nominees at BNY, MPA and FOR Steinmetz at MHN, MYN on the WHITE Proxy Card
  • ISS Also Recommends AGAINST Termination Proposals at BFZ and BSTZ

BlackRock Advisors, LLC ("BlackRock") announced today that Glass Lewis joined Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. ("ISS") in broad support for BlackRock and the incumbent Fund Board nominees at several funds and against the dissident shareholder's proposals.

Glass Lewis recommended that shareholders vote:

  • FOR ALL Board nominees at BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust (NYSE:BFZ); BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust (NYSE:BNY) and BlackRock MuniYield New York Quality Fund (NYSE:MYN), and;
  • AGAINST the proposal to terminate BlackRock as investment adviser of BFZ.

As previously announced, ISS recommended that shareholders vote:

  • FOR ALL of the Board nominees of BNY and BlackRock MuniYield Pennsylvania Quality Fund (NYSE:MPA);
  • FOR Board nominee Arthur Steinmetz at both BlackRock MuniHoldings New York Quality Fund (NYSE:MHN) and MYN; and
  • AGAINST the proposal to terminate BlackRock as investment adviser of BFZ and BlackRock Science and Technology Term Trust (NYSE:BSTZ).

In providing its recommendation in favor of the funds' Board nominees at BFZ, BNY and MYN, Glass Lewis fully rejected the nominees put forth by dissident shareholder Saba Capital Management, L.P. ("Saba").

"We welcome Glass Lewis' full support for the qualified Board nominees of BFZ, BNY and MYN, and for BlackRock as investment adviser to BFZ, as well as ISS' support for many of the funds' Board nominees and rejection of the termination proposals at BFZ and BSTZ," said R. Glenn Hubbard, Chair of the Boards of BlackRock Closed-End Funds.

"We also appreciate that Glass Lewis, unlike ISS, supported Phillip Holloman on MYN. We respectfully disagree with ISS' recommendation to vote in favor of Saba's nominees for BFZ and BSTZ. ISS fails to appreciate the differences between the corporate governance practices of closed-end funds and those of operating companies. Importantly, Congress has taken notice of this, as the House of Representatives recently passed, by bipartisan majority, The Increasing Investor Opportunities Act, which removes the loophole allowing activists like Saba to force closed-end funds into harmful liquidity events or radically change their investment strategies," Hubbard added.

These reports signal the strength of BlackRock's and the Boards' fund management. Notably, as Glass Lewis' analysis of BFZ states: "…the unaffected one-, three- and five-year TSRs [total shareholder returns] of the Fund… are better than the TSRs of most or all of the funds in the Peer Group…"

Important statements by Glass Lewis in issuing its voting recommendation FOR the Board nominees at BFZ, BNY and MYN in lieu of Saba's nominees, and AGAINST Saba's proposal to terminate the investment management agreement with BlackRock at BFZ, include:

From recommendations on BNY and MYN…

  • "…the board's recent actions, particularly the distribution rate increase, are more likely to have been the main contributing factor to the recent narrowing of the Fund's NAV discount."

From recommendations on BFZ, BNY and MYN…

  • "…we believe the Dissident's argument [overboarding] here is decidedly misleading given that the referenced limits relate to serving on the boards of public companies as opposed to mutual funds or closed-end funds. This distinction is important, in our view, given that serving on the board of fund is generally less time-intensive compared to a typical public company, largely due to the narrower scope of responsibilities."
  • "…we believe Saba Capital has failed to make a compelling case to support the changes it is seeking at the Fund… we believe shareholders would be better served maintaining the status quo at this time."

From recommendations on BFZ and BNY…

  • "In our view, the Dissident Nominees are relatively underqualified for serving on the Fund's board and/or are likely to push for an agenda focused primarily on effecting a liquidity event consistent with Saba Capital's typical playbook."
  • "…it appears to us that none of the Dissident Nominees have any prior experience in the closed-end fund space…"
  • "…we believe the Management Nominees have far more relevant and substantive professional credentials than the Dissident Nominees."

BlackRock recently announced several enhancements across its closed-end fund complex, including discount management programs for certain closed-end funds, distribution increases for certain municipal bond and term closed-end funds, and fee waivers for all municipal bond closed-end funds. These actions provide $2.9 billion in liquidity across those funds.

VOTE FOR ALL BOARD NOMINEES ON THE WHITE PROXY CARD TODAY

Only your latest dated proxy will count at the meeting. Please do NOT send back any gold proxy card you may receive from Saba as this will cancel your prior vote for the Board Nominees.

If you have already sent back the gold proxy card you received from Saba, you can still change your vote by (1) using the website provided on the WHITE proxy card; or (2) calling the toll-free number provided on the WHITE proxy card.

If you have any questions about the nominees or proposal(s) to be voted on, please call Georgeson LLC, the firm assisting us in the solicitation of proxies, toll free at:

  • BlackRock California Municipal Income Trust (NYSE:BFZ): (866) 529-0071
  • BlackRock New York Municipal Income Trust (NYSE:BNY): (866) 529-0358
  • BlackRock MuniYield New York Quality Fund (NYSE:MYN): (866) 529-0466
  • BlackRock MuniHoldings New York Quality Fund (NYSE:MHN): (866) 529-0465
  • BlackRock MuniYield Pennsylvania Quality Fund (NYSE:MPA): (866) 529-0352
  • BlackRock Science and Technology Term Trust (NYSE:BSTZ): (866) 529-3057

The Funds' letters, proxy statements and proxy cards for the annual meetings of shareholders to be held on June 17, 2024 (BFZ, BNY, MYN) and June 18, 2024 (MHN, MPA, BSTZ) are available at:

About BlackRock

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BlackRock will update performance and certain other data for the funds on a monthly basis on their website in the "Closed-end Funds" section of www.blackrock.com, as well as certain other material information as necessary from time to time. Investors and others are advised to check the website for updated performance information and the release of other material information about the funds. This reference to BlackRock's website is intended to allow investors public access to information regarding the funds and does not, and is not intended to, incorporate BlackRock's website in this release.

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