Toshiba Corp. shareholders approved measures to fend off hostile takeover bids at their annual meeting Tuesday, company officials said.

Should a company try to acquire a stake larger than 20 percent in Toshiba, a special panel made up of outside directors will be assembled to examine the proposal, the officials said.

If the committee deems the acquisition plan hostile and harmful to shareholder interests, Toshiba will offer equity warrants.

This move will make it possible for existing shareholders to buy new Toshiba shares and dilute the bidder’s stake in the electronics maker.

“With the introduction of the preventive measures, time and information necessary for shareholders to make appropriate decisions will be secured if a buyer emerges,” Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida said at the meeting.

Toshiba reported its intention to adopt the measures at a general shareholders’ meeting in May 2005 but did not ask for approval.

Because some shareholders have said the measures could be used to protect Toshiba executives’ own interests, the firm listed its intentions on the agenda again this year to increase management transparency, the officials said.

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