ADP Board Rejects Pershing's Request To Extend Director Nomination

Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman is trying to shake up the management of his latest target

Bill Ackman builds 8% stake in ADP

Activist investor Bill Ackman has opened a fight for control of the payroll-processing company ADP and the ouster of its chief executive officer. "However, ADP has a clearly defined board nomination process, and the 2017 deadline for director nominations has been public for almost a year". The investor is also planning to push for margin improvements, but didn't mention plans for a major financial overhaul, they said.

On August 1, Pershing Square approached the company and requested an in-person meeting with the Board to share our research and its conclusions. Ackman said he planned to nominate five directors, including himself, to ADP's 10-member Board. After spending the better part of two years trying to convince just about anyone his investment in Valeant was a good one, Ackman more recently referred to the effort at the controversial drugmaker as a "huge mistake".

Pershing Square has long admired ADP's business.

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In its statement, ADP compared it six-year stock performance under CEO Rodriguez to Pershing Square's hedge fund returns from 2012 to 2016. Pershing Square was reportedly offered 11.10 to 11.40 each for shares that, at their late 2015 high, traded at 263.81.

Pershing Square took a 9.9% stake in Chipotle a year ago.

Prior to building Pershing's position in ADP, Ackman approached a number of his hedge fund investors to raise money earmarked only for the ADP bet through a special objective vehicle, sources familiar with the fundraising said.

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But ADP is pushing back, touting its total shareholder return of 202% since Rodriguez took the helm and contrasting it to Pershing's return of 29%. The company has a market value of $50 billion. Pershing Square now has around $10-billion in assets under management.

On Friday morning, ADP's announcement of Ackman's desire barely registered with investors.

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