CINCINNATI - Procter & Gamble Co. has again disappointed Nelson Peltz by starting its review of election results that showed the New York hedge fund manager won election to P&G’s board by a margin of 42,780 votes.
“P&G shareholders should be concerned,” Peltz’s Trian Fund Management L.P. said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “The review and challenge process will be a continued distraction at a time when management and the Board should be focused on improving business results and regaining lost market share.”
P&G told WCPO last week that it would review the results announced Nov. 15 by IVS Associates, a Delaware-based inspector of elections that declared Peltz the winner by a margin of 0.0019 percent. P&G spokesman Damon Jones said the review has begun and is expected to take several weeks to complete. At that point, the company will decide if it wants to formally challenge the results.
P&G said it wants to make sure that every vote was accurately counted before it concedes it lost the most expensive proxy contest in U.S. history, a battle that cost both sides at least $65 million.
In its statement, Trian claimed P&G has already spent $100 million on the proxy fight and challenging the results will only waste more money:
“The Inspector’s report was the first independent tabulation of all proxies and ballots submitted to the Inspector by both P&G and Trian, and it was released only after the Inspector completed a careful five-week process. Based on that tabulation, shareholders have sent a strong message to P&G: they want Nelson Peltz to join the Board.”
P&G also issued a statement Wednesday:
"P&G has not launched a challenge to the preliminary proxy vote results. As part of the normal process, the IVS tabulation results are preliminary and are going through a customary review to ensure a final and accurate count. P&G will disclose the results after receiving the Independent Inspector of Elections' final certified report, which we are pushing to get as quickly as possible."
Investors seem to be taking the verbal sparring in stride. In mid-morning trades, P&G shares were down about 6-tenths of a percent to $88.25. The stock peaked at $94.17 in the days leading up to the shareholder vote. It dipped as low as $86.03 in early November, before IVS announced that Peltz won a board seat.