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Nelson Peltz says he’s lost proxy war with Dupont

May 13, 2015, 2:05 PM UTC
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Photograph by Heidi Gutman — NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

After a bruising four-month battle with DuPont (DD), activist investor Nelson Peltz conceded defeat on Wednesday in his bid to break up the chemical giant and get four of his nominees onto the company’s board.

Peltz, whose investment fund Trian Partners has a $1.9 billion stake in DuPont, told CNBC at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Delaware that he acknowledged Trian had lost the vote but has a clear interest in the long-term success of DuPont.

“We believe we can make DuPont great again,” he told CNBC. “Whatever the results, we’re proud of the role we’ve played as a positive change agent.”

Peltz also told CNBC that he doesn’t think DuPont will achieve its expected 2015 earnings. “We will closely monitor DuPont’s performance,” he said. Peltz himself said earlier this week that his prospects for winning the proxy war were “dim.”

A DuPont spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment to confirm the results of the proxy vote.

Trian has argued that five out of DuPont’s seven main business lines have underperformed in recent years. The fund, DuPont’s fifth-largest shareholder, with a 2.7% stake, has called for the company to split its volatile materials business from more stable sectors such as agriculture, nutrition and health, and industrial biosciences.

DuPont has in turn said Peltz was “blatantly wrong in terms of both the time period and the stock appreciation” in his comments about its performance.

Earlier this week, Fortune’s Stephen Gandel published a behind-the-scenes look at the battle royale between the chemical giant and hedge fund Trian.