UPDATE: TUESDAY, OCT. 10: Procter and Gamble shareholders have rejected activist investor and hedge fund manager Nelson Peltz, according to preliminary results, the Associated Press has said.
The P&G shareholders meeting happened Tuesday, capping what is widely thought to be the largest corporate proxy battle in history.
INITIAL STORY: Who is the activist investor who may be about to land a seat on the board of one of Ohio’s biggest employers?
It’s a boardroom battle waged between shareholders wielding blue ballots or proxy cards (in support of Procter & Gamble’s recommended slate of board nominees) and white proxy cards (cast by those who support giving Nelson Peltz a seat on P&G’s board.)
Here are three things to know about Peltz, the investor some observers say is pushing one of the biggest proxy fights in history.
1. He has a track record.
Peltz, 75, is the billionaire founder of Trian Fund Management in New York. He has a $3.5 billion position in Procter & Gamble, which has been his starting point for his fight to win a seat on P&G’s board of directors, a battle that is being decided now with shareholder voting. P&G’s annual shareholder meeting is Tuesday at the company’s downtown Cincinnati headquarters, and that’s when vote results will be announced.
Peltz’ fund also has stakes in Wendy’s, restaurant supplier Sysco, General Electric, DuPont and other companies.
Forbes puts his net worth as above $1.6 billion and ranked him as No. 22 on the magazine’s list of “the highest earning hedge-fund managers.”
2. Peltz appears to be picking up support
Some observers think he is all but a shoo-in to win a board seat.
RELATED: P&G investment battle: What to know
“Activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners is gaining a lot of ground,” stock news site Seeking Alpha said in a post on Tuesday. “In many cases, he’s already gained all the ground. Him getting the board seat on P&G is a foregone conclusion.”
In a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Peltz boasted what the filing called the recommendation that he be added to P&G’s board by “premier independent advisory firms ISS, Glass Lewis and Egan-Jones.”
3. P&G is spending tens of millions to fight him off
The global retail powerhouse is fighting back, acknowledging that it is spending at $35 million in its bid to keep Peltz off its board of directors.
In a recent letter to shareholders, P&G said it needs directors who have experience with global business, with data analytics and e-commerce, with health care and with gender and ethnic diversity.
“While Mr. Peltz is an accomplished investor, he does not fit any of these criteria,” the company said.
This fight has been expensive for P&G. In its 2017 proxy statement, the company said its “solicitation of proxies,” or votes, from shareholders is estimated to cost about $35 million more than such solicitations usually cost. That includes hiring two firms to assist for about $2.5 million.
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