As of now, activist investor Nelson Peltz isn’t getting a seat on Procter & Gamble’s board.
Preliminary results calculated during the consumer goods group’s shareholder meeting Tuesday showed that shareholders elected the existing 11 members to the board, chief executive officer David Taylor said. Those results showed shareholders did not grant Peltz, who owns $3.5 billion in P&G stock through Trian Fund Management, a board seat.
The results are not considered official until they are certified by an independent inspector, and are contested by Trian.
P&G investors ended the day almost where they started it — the company’s stock dipped slightly when Taylor revealed the preliminary results, but gained gradually throughout the day to end down less than 1 percent, at $91.57.
“We believe both P&G and Trian have [made] some valid points during the proxy fight process, but ultimately, we believe this outcome does not really matter for the stock,” wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Nik Modi in a note.
“Our numbers say it is as close to a dead heat as possible,” Peltz said after the preliminary results came out in an interview with CNBC. Trian also issued a statement, saying: “According to our proxy solicitors, today’s vote is too close to call and it will take more time to determine the outcome. We await the certified election results by the independent inspector of election. Trian is pleased with the support we have received from shareholders and all of the nation’s independent proxy advisory firms. We believe shareholders’ voices are being heard at P&G today, thanks to Trian’s involvement.”
P&G also issued a statement after the shareholder meeting: “P&G’s board and management team thank P&G shareholders for their support, input and participation throughout the proxy contest. We are encouraged that shareholders recognize P&G is a profoundly different, much stronger, more profitable company than just a few years ago. The changes the company has made are broad based and delivering results. We look forward to continuing our transformation journey. We are committed to meeting the needs of consumers with our brands and products, and to creating value for P&G shareholders.” P&G also announced a dividend Tuesday.
In brief remarks at the beginning of the shareholder meeting, Peltz reiterated that P&G needs to change, and that he’d represent an “ownership mentality” if elected to the board. He also criticized P&G as insular — “culture’s got to be open to outsiders,” he said.
Taylor outlined P&G’s transformation plan and shined a spotlight on the areas where he says it’s working — like China — where the group had a massive misstep as Chinese consumers looked for more premium products and P&G didn’t deliver them. In beauty (most of which P&G sold to Coty Inc. as part of the transformation plan), Head & Shoulders has been making sales gains, and P&G has delivered innovation through products like scent beads, which grew at around 30 percent last year to become a more than $500 million business.
Taylor also reiterated P&G’s “irresistible superiority” plans — that the company will make products that align with daily consumer needs that are better than the competition, essentially.