* Active Ownership now wants only three board members changed
* Had wanted five members removed, including chairman
* Stada says wants to avoid costly legal battle (Adds details on proposed board members, Stada comment, background)
FRANKFURT, May 13 (Reuters) - German generic drugmaker Stada has agreed to a shareholder vote on proposed board changes after an activist investor had asked for a thorough overhaul, the company said on Friday.
Active Ownership Capital will now seek to replace three instead of five of Stada’s nine supervisory board members at its annual general meeting on June 9, and it is no longer asking for the removal of board Chairman Martin Abend.
Stada said in a statement it was agreeing to the compromise to avoid a pricey legal battle as well as the need to call an extraordinary meeting of shareholders.
Shares in Stada have surged about 11 percent this month on speculation that Active Ownership’s campaign could lead to the sale or break up of the company.
The Luxembourg-based investor, which has a 5 percent stake in the company, has said its push for a shareholder vote on the supervisory board is to add international healthcare expertise to help Stada realise its potential.
Active Ownership wants Klaus-Joachim Krauth, the former finance chief of Hexal and Athos; Ulrich Wandschneider, who until recently was chief executive of hospitals chain Asklepios Kliniken; and Active Ownership founding partner Klaus Roehrig on the supervisory board.
They would replace Eckhard Brueggemann, Arnold Hertzsch and Constantin Meyer. (Reporting by Arno Schuetze, Alexander Huebner and Maria Sheahan)