The Most Expensive Boardroom Proxy Battle in History Just Took a Massive Twist
When activist investor Nelson Peltz heard last month that he had lost his epic battle to gain a seat on the board of Procter & Gamble, the Trian Fund Management CEO wasn’t so sure. He told Fortune that the proxy vote was really too close to call, and he might actually have eked it out.
Peltz may have been right. After a recount Wednesday, it turned out that he had a margin of 42,780 votes—representing just 0.0016% of P&G’s outstanding shares. Peltz has called on the company to let him in, but P&G has hinted that it may challenge the result.
This has been the biggest proxy battle in history. According to Reuters, the two sides spent more than $100 million trying to make their cases to investors.
Trian’s big argument is that P&G, which has been divesting well-known brands such as Duracell, needs to change faster to deliver better-performing products that achieve growth and offer shareholders better returns than they’d get with P&G rivals Colgate Palmolive and Unilever.
New-ish P&G CEO David Taylor, meanwhile, has pushed back on the basis that the Tide and Gillette-maker is already undergoing a turnaround, and Peltz would throw a wrench into the process.
“Trian strongly urges P&G to accept the Inspector’s tabulation and not waste further time and shareholder money contesting the outcome of the Annual Meeting. Shareholders have voted, and they have indicated that they want Nelson Peltz to join the Board,” Trian said in a statement.
However, P&G said that “the results are still preliminary and are subject to a review and challenge period during which both parties will have the opportunity to review the results for any discrepancies.”
P&G said it expected to see final results “in the weeks ahead,” according to the Financial Times.