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The Morning Brief: DuPont, Trian Square Off in Proxy Filings

It was proxy filing day for chemical and life sciences giant DuPont, a target of New York-based activist hedge fund firm Trian Fund Management. Trian, which has already nominated four of its own director candidates to DuPont’s board, filed its definitive proxy, which details its four nominees, including Trian co-founder Nelson Peltz. “Despite the company’s rhetoric, DuPont has continued to underperform and has repeatedly failed to achieve its promised revenue and earnings targets,” Trian states in making its announcement.

Meanwhile, DuPont filed its own proxy, of course telling investors not to vote for the hedge fund’s slate. “They put shareholder value at risk and therefore are not in the best interests of all DuPont shareholders,” the company states in its regulatory filing. “We believe your investment in DuPont will be better served by allowing your current board to continue to deliver higher growth and higher value by executing on our ongoing successful transformation strategy.” My bet is that there will be a settlement the day or so before DuPont’s annual meeting, scheduled for May 13.

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William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management disclosed that as of March 17 it owns more than 19.47 million shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, or 5.7 percent of the total outstanding. The stock dropped 3 percent to $197.01 on Wednesday.

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Bank activist Lawrence Seidman cut his stake in Westbury Bancorp to 4.68 percent. It is not clear why he reduced his position. Last June the founder of Parsippany, New Jersey–based hedge fund firm Seidman & Associates disclosed that he owned 5.94 percent of the West Bend, Wisconsin–based bank holding company.

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Lendio, which helps small businesses obtain financing, raised $20.5 million in a new round of funding led by Napier Park’s Financial Partners Group. Dan Kittredge, managing director at Napier Park, will join Lendio’s board of directors under the deal. Napier Park’s Financial Partners Group is the private equity investment group of Napier Park Global Capital, a New York-based alternative investment firm with $6.4 billion in assets under management as of January 1. The firm manages hedge funds, CLOs and private equity funds.

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