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The Morning Brief: Ackman Nominates Himself, Two Others to ADP Board

Pershing Square has nominated three directors, including its founder, to ADP’s board after its attempt to push back the payroll processing company’s August 10 nominating deadline was rejected.

  • By Stephen Taub

Pershing Square Capital Management has nominated three directors to the board of directors of ADP, the payroll processing and human resources outsourcing company. The three nominees are Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman, Veronica Hagen and V. Paul Unruh.

Hagen was formerly the CEO of engineered materials company Polymer Group, which was acquired by Blackstone Group. She is currently a director of Southern Company, a public utility holding company, after having previously served as lead director. She also serves as a director and chair of the compensation committee of Newmont Mining and as a director of American Water Works Company.

Unruh held several senior positions at engineering, construction, and project management company Bechtel Group. He serves as a director and chairman of the audit committee at Symantec Corporation and chairman of the audit and risk committee of Aconex Limited.

Pershing Square’s earlier bid to extend ADP’s August 10 deadline for submitting director nominations was rejected. In a regulatory filing, Pershing Square said it has entered into an indemnification agreement with the nominees. Pershing Square Holdings was up 3.3 percent in July, putting it barely back in the black, by 0.90 percent. Pershing Square International rose 2.6 percent in July and is up 2.2 percent for the year.

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ValueAct Capital disclosed it owns about 31.4 million shares of Baker Hughes, a GE Company, or 7.3 percent of the total outstanding. In a new 13D filing, the San Francisco activist firm said it acquired the shares for investment purposes and that they are undervalued. On July 3, Baker Hughes closed its merger with General Electric’s oil and gas equipment and services operations — creating the new company with the awkward name Baker Hughes, a GE Company. As part of the deal, Baker Hughes shareholders, which included ValueAct at the time, were to receive a special one-time cash dividend of $17.50 per share on July 6.

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Davidson Kempner Partners disclosed separate investments in two newly public companies that have no assets but were created to do some sort of merger or acquisition. The multistrategy firm said that as of July 27, it owned 1.5 million shares of Industrea Acquisition Corp., or about 6.5 percent of the special-purpose-acquisition company formed by Industrea Alexandria, a portfolio company of Argand Partners. It recently raised $200 million.

Davidson Kempner separately disclosed that as of July 27 it owned 2 million shares of Pensare Acquisition Corp., or 5.15 percent of the blank check company, which recently raised $310.5 million to do some sort of deal.

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Highbridge Capital Management said that as of July 27 it owned 1.35 million shares of Global Partner Acquisition Corp., or nearly 7 percent of the blank check company that recently raised $155 million so it could do some type of merger transaction.

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