Procter & Gamble said activist hedge fund manager Nelson Peltz had lost his fight to win a seat on the company's board, according to a preliminary tally of shareholder votes in the biggest-ever proxy fight. Fred Katayama reports.
Trian Fund CEO Nelson Peltz failed to get a seat on Procter & Gamble's board. P&G said preliminary results of a vote show shareholders were against it. But Peltz refused to concede. He contends the vote had been too close to call. He plans to challenge the results once they get certified. Reuters sources said the difference in the for and against votes for Peltz was less than one percentage point. Procter & Gamble stock fell on the news. Morningstar's Erin Lash: (SOUNDBITE) ERIN LASH, CFA, DIRECTOR, CONSUMER EQUITY RESEARCH, INVESTMENT RESEARCH, MORNINGSTAR RESEARCH SERVICES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We've long held that adding Peltz to the board would fail to accelerate the change that's already occurring at Procter & Gamble. And, so, we don't view this decision as materially a positive or a negative. We think that the company is already working to drive change by pursuing cost reduction, reinvesting behind their brands, returning excess cash to shareholders. And, so, we view this as a means by which to continue to work through the strategic roadmap that they laid out over the last several years." In February, $14 billion New York-based hedge fund Trian revealed a roughly $3.5 billion stake in Proctor & Gamble, a company with a market value of about $230 billion. In July, Trian nominated Peltz to the P&G's board. Peltz wanted P&G to reorganize. But the company said it's already working on several operational changes, and that Peltz does not have the relevant experience to be helpful in the process.