What happens when history’s biggest corporate boardroom battle ends with one side declaring victory and the other side saying, “Not so fast”?
We’ll find out.
After Tuesday’s shareholders meeting and vote, David Taylor, chief executive of P&G, said shareholders voted to reject hedge fund boss’ Nelson Peltz’s bid for a seat on the Cincinnati company’s board of directors.
But neither Taylor, nor anyone else at P&G, is offering any numbers or percentages tied to the vote result.
Peltz, for his part, doesn’t sound convinced. He told media he was going to return home and would wait for certified vote results.
And when will the vote count be certified?
“It’s going to be multiple weeks before the independent inspector of elections, IVS Associates, has fully certified totals,” P&G spokeswoman Jennifer Corso said Wednesday. “We want to ensure every vote is counted.”
For his part, Peltz said he felt the company should place him on the board regardless of the vote outcome, given how close he estimates that margin to be.
Some investors may feel similarly. Shares of P&G (NYSE: PG) have fallen from about $92.52 a share to $91.58 in the past five days.
“The vote on a best-case basis is one percent for them, one percent against them,” Peltz said Tuesday after the shareholders session in Cincinnati. “That’s the margin we’ve estimated.”
The New York Times quoted him as saying: “Think about it. I mean, everybody but the current employees voted for us up and down the line.”
Peltz and his company, Trian Partners, remains one of the P&G’s biggest investors, with a $3.5 billion stake. Taylor pledged that he would “listen” to Peltz.
“I am open to listening to, and we are open to listening to, ideas from wherever they may come,” Taylor said at a press conference after the meeting.
Given that P&G spokespeople argued that local jobs could be a stake with the vote, the episode was an important one for the Dayton-Cincinnati corridor and Ohio.
P&G and its distribution partners have about 760 workers total at a Union distribution hub. More than a third of P&G’s products move through that center.
The company also has about 1,500 employees at a Mason complex.
With $65 billion in revenue and a $235 billion market cap, P&G also has about 10,000 employees in the Cincinnati area and about 3,400 in downtown Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, P&G says its corporate “transformation” continues, with the company having cut 170 brands to 65, with 12 of those brands — including Bounty paper towels, Crest toothpaste, Dawn dish soap and others — ranked No. 1 in their markets.