Market Overview

ADP Shareholder Meeting Sees Pershing's Proxy Defeated

ADP Shareholder Meeting Sees Pershing's Proxy Defeated

Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman was dealt another blow this week when he came out on the losing side of a proxy battle to place three Pershing Square representatives on the board of Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ: ADP).

Ackman’s nominees received votes from less than 20 percent of ADP’s shareholders, and all 10 current directors were re-elected to their positions. The defeat was so decisive that ADP CEO Carlos Rodriguez called it an “ass-whipping” for Ackman.

“We would hope that this is a message not just to Bill Ackman but to all activists that ADP is I think on a strong foundation and on the right path,” Rodriguez said, adding that he hopes Ackman shifts his attention elsewhere at this point.

In a statement, Ackman said ADP shareholders are now fully capable of holding management accountable for improving the company’s performance in the years ahead.

“While I and our other nominees did not get elected to the board this year, we have accomplished much of what we set out to do so far,” Ackman said. “ADP’s shareholders, management and board are now fully informed about the opportunities for improvement, and the risks of management’s failure to perform.”

Pershing's Performance

Pershing Square has severely lagged the S&P 500 in recent years after a handful of large Ackman misses, including Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE: VRX) and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG).

Pershing Square is down 3.3 in 2017 as of the end of October compared to a 15 percent gain for the S&P 500. Over the past four years, Pershing’s investments have returned just 1.4 percent annually compared to an average S&P 500 gain of 14.3 percent in that time.

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Ackman Addresses Chipotle Issues

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