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The Morning Brief: ADP CEO Calls Ackman a “Spoiled Brat”

The payroll processing company’s chief executive didn’t mince words about the Pershing Square founder on a CNBC appearance.

  • By Stephen Taub

ADP chief executive officer Carlos Rodriguez went on the offensive in his battle with activist Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management. In an interview on CNBC Thursday morning, the payroll processing company’s CEO likened the hedge fund manager to “a spoiled brat” and said Ackman “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Rodriguez was referring to Ackman’s last-minute request that the company push back the deadline for nominating directors to its board by as much as 30 to 45 days after taking an 8 percent stake in the company. ADP refused and Ackman wound up nominating three individuals, including himself.

“It kind of reminds me a little bit of a spoiled brat in school asking the teacher for an extension for their homework,” Rodriguez said in the interview. “I honestly can’t make heads or tails of what’s going on. What it feels like is I’m negotiating with someone about buying a used car. And this is not a used car. This is a company that has 58,000 employees, $50 billion market cap, and a lot of shareholders that we have of responsibility toward.”

Nevertheless, Rodriguez said he will probably meet with Ackman in early September. The two actually met once 31 years ago at Harvard, Rodriguez conceded, but stressed that he is not “on [Ackman’s] holiday greeting card list as far as I can tell.”

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Two Sigma Ventures, the venture investment arm of quantitative investment hedge fund firm Two Sigma, participated in a $13 million round of financing for Socure, which is developing digital identity verification technology. The funding round was led by venture capital fund Flint Capital.

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The average managed futures fund gained 0.64 percent in July, according to the Barclay CTA Index compiled by BarclayHedge. This trimmed the average loss for the year to 1.04 percent. The BTOP50 Index of 20 of the largest CTAs rose 0.60 percent in July but is down 4.20 percent for the year. All of the six fund sub-indices measured by BarclayHedge were profitable in July.

“Managed futures traders were able to eke out gains last month in spite of the cross currents in commodity markets,” says Sol Waksman, founder and president of BarclayHedge, in a press release. “Profits resulting from US dollar weakness against the euro and a new record high in the S&P 500 were enough to overcome losses from trend reversals in energy and agricultural products.”

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