The fate of Photo-Me International, the photo booth operator, is set to be decided at an extraordinary general meeting after activist investors looking to oust the chairman and chief executive immediately, rejected a compromise plan for the pair to step down.

Principle Capital and Cycladic on Friday repeated their call for Vernon Sankey, chairman, and Serge Crasnianski, chef executive, to step down with immediate effect or face removal at an EGM.

Photo-Me said earlier in the day that Mr Sankey would not seek re-election at an annual meeting in October while Mr Crasnianski would step down after completing the process of selling the company’s vending division.

The division – worth £250m, more than the entire market capitalisation of the group, according to some estimates – has proved to be a touchstone for the dispute.

Principle and Cycladic said they wanted both men to step aside immediately to allow a new team to manage the disposal, which they claim has been drawn out.

“It has been a long process but it is not as if we have been dragging our feet,” said Mr Sankey. “If they want to go hellbent on having an EGM a week before the AGM then so be it,” he added.

The chairman said it would take several weeks to organise what both sides acknowledge would be an expensive process.

“Quite frankly I think most investors realise that it is extremely damaging to run a business by EGM or constant interference which is what they do,” he added.

However, Principle and Cycladic said that, including their own stakes, they had now secured the support of 50.4 per cent of shareholders – sufficient to oust the directors at an EGM.

“As the resolutions now have the support of a majority (50.4 per cent) of shareholders of the company’s shares, Cycladic and Principle Capital urge Vernon Sankey and Serge Cransianski to resign immediately.

“This will save the company the expense of calling an extraordinary general meeting, prevent any disruption to the strategic review process and allow the board to make a decision about the sale of the vending division that can be supported by shareholders.”

Shares in Photo-Me rose 5¾p to close at 66p.

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