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Morning Brief: Peltz Won’t Concede Proxy Loss to P&G

The activist firm’s co-founder said that the vote in his bid for a seat on the company’s board was too close to call.


Trian Fund Management lost the biggest proxy fight of all time. The activist firm’s co-founder, Nelson Peltz, failed to gain enough votes to get on to the consumer products giant’s board of directors. However, after preliminary voting results were tallied, Peltz told Fortune he refuses to concede.

“The vote is too close to call,” he told the publication. “This morning, our proxy firm said we were up by 175 million votes. We knew P&G had 100 million shares they could vote themselves, and 100 million that were held by employees, who could vote either way. We sat on another 20 million shares. Think about those numbers! If they won or lost it was by 1 percent.”

In an interview with CNBC, a clearly disappointed Peltz said: “They did not want me. Why? A three-letter word — ego. I threatened the hallowed walls of that boardroom and how dare I do that. The board needs to really look honestly and openly and ask what’s wrong with this picture.” In response, shares of P&G closed down 0.54 percent at $91.62 on an otherwise up day for the market.

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In other activist news, Pershing Square Capital Management’s Bill Ackman said it is “unlikely” he will settle his proxy battle with Automatic Data Processing. The hedge fund manager has proposed three nominees to serve as directors of the payroll processing and consulting firm. “If you had a board of directors that was open to change, then one seat works,” Ackman told Bloomberg in an interview in its New York offices Monday. “The company has put a line in the sand. They’ve said, ‘It’s status quo, we’re not changing anything.”’

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Bank activist Lawrence Seidman has disclosed a new target. In a 13D filing, the Parsippany, New Jersey hedge fund manager, whose Seidman & Associates specializes in small, community banks with few branches, said he owned 7.4 percent of SBT Bancorp, the holding company of central Connecticut’s Simsbury Bank. It has a market capitalization of less than $35 million. In a regulatory filing, Seidman said that on October 4 he spoke by phone with chief executive and president Martin Geitz and they agreed to meet in mid-November to discuss ways to maximize shareholder value. He also conceded in the filing that he does not have a plan or proposal for the company at this time.

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Electric car pioneer Tesla rebounded sharply from its big loss on Monday, gaining 3.69 percent to close at $355.59. The stock is now down less than 1 percent over the past two days.

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