Procter and Gamble said on Tuesday that shareholders have voted against giving activist investor Nelson Peltz a seat on its board, a huge win for the consumer products giant that had been embroiled in the biggest proxy battle in history.
The results came in based off a preliminary vote, and P&G has said it will file results when they are final with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Trian said the vote is still too close to call and plans to challenge the results.
“According to our proxy solicitors, today’s vote is too close to call and it will take more time to determine the outcome,” said Trian in a statement. “Regardless of the final voting results, Trian believes management and the Board have been put on notice by shareholders — a continuation of the past decade’s underperformance is simply unacceptable.”
In an interview with CNBC, Peltz said that no matter how the vote goes, P&G should add him to the board. “I don’t think they’re serving their shareholders properly,” he said.
The decision came after a monthslong battle that’s been both personal and costly. Trian in February revealed a roughly $3.5 billion stake in the company. In July, it nominated Peltz to Procter’s board of directors and announced it had recruited P&G’s former CFO, Clayton Daley.
P&G, which has a market capitalization of about $235 billion, had enlisted the help of four banks: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Centerview and Lazard, as well as its former chief executive, A.G. Lafley, to support its cause. One estimate says it has spent $60 million to that end.
“P&G’s Board and management team thank P&G shareholders for their support, input and participation throughout the proxy contest,” said P&G. “We are encouraged that shareholders recognize P&G is a profoundly different, much stronger, more profitable Company than just a few years ago.”