Peltz isn’t admitting defeat in P&G board vote
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Nelson Peltz isn’t ready to throw in the towel on Procter & Gamble just yet.
The billionaire investor called for an official tally of shareholder votes after the consumer products giant claimed Peltz lost his bid for a board seat at the company’s annual meeting Tuesday.
The maker of Tide, Crest, Pampers and Gillette Mach 3 razors admitted that the vote was close in the fiercely fought proxy contest, but nevertheless declared victory after preliminary results came in.
But Peltz isn’t backing down from what has been the largest proxy fight in history, in which both sides reportedly spent more than $60 million on advisors and shareholder mailings.
Peltz’s hedge fund Trian Partners — which has blasted P&G’s brass as “insular” and fiddly in the face of lackluster growth — said its advisors believe the vote is “too close to call and it will take more time to determine the outcome” with the help of an independent inspector.
“If anything, it’s plus or minus 1 percent,” Peltz claimed in an interview with CNBC, noting the “dissatisfaction” with the status quo P&G shareholders voiced at the meeting.
Some reports indicated that Peltz’s support flagged among P&G employees and retirees, who feared that the Wall Street tycoon aims to take a hatchet to expenses and jobs.
Still, some investors spoke up for Peltz at the meeting.
“While I don’t approve of vulture capitalism, I do think Mr. Peltz has a good point,” one shareholder said during the company’s question and answer session. “I think you can do a lot better.”
Citing P&G’s 2-percent annual sales growth since 2000, another shareholder added that “when there’s so many other opportunities in the market, one has to wonder if management really should be that impressed” with its own performance.
It wasn’t just individual investors — who represent 40 percent of P&G’s shareholder base — who had thrown their support behind Peltz.
Institutional investors, such as State Street and BlackRock — representing a combined 10.6 percent stake in P&G — voted in favor of Peltz, a source familiar with the situation told The Post. Vanguard, P&G’s largest shareholder with a 7 percent stake, voted in favor of P&G, the source added.
In Peltz’ failed bid to get on Dupont’s board in 2015, all three had sided with Dupont.
Peltz announced a $3.5 billion — or 1.5 percent — stake and intentions to join P&G’s board in July. P&G shares closed down 0.6 percent, to $91.57.
With as many as 2.5 billion shares to count, it will take weeks for the certified results to be announced, a source close to P&G told The Post.
Despite Peltz’ apparent defeat, P&G CEO David Taylor said the company would continue to work with Peltz.
“We will continue to respectfully engage with Nelson Peltz, whose input we value,” Taylor said at the conclusion of the Tuesday’s meeting.
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October 12, 2017
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