Ackman on comeback trail takes aim at ADP, gets instant pushback

Randall Padilla
August 5, 2017

"However, ADP has a clearly defined Board nomination process, and the 2017 deadline for director nominations has been public for almost a year", the company said. The company also said that the deadline has been publicly known for nearly a year.

On August 1, Pershing Square approached the company and requested an in-person meeting with the Board to share our research and its conclusions.

ADP said that Ackman is seeking to nominate five board directors, including himself, to ADP's ten-member board, and also to oust Carlos Rodriguez, the company's chief executive since 2011.

"We believe our current Board has an effective balance of leadership continuity and fresh perspectives that will help us to continue this strong track record of delivering value to shareholders", said ADP's statement.

This isn't the first time Ackman has owned a stake in ADP.

Ackman met with Rodriguez on Thursday and asked to postpone the nomination deadline but was told no, two sources told CNBC.

A representative for Pershing Square declined to comment.

He also has a billion-dollar bet against multilevel marketing firm Herbalife, alleging that the nutrition supplement seller is a pyramid scheme.

ADP said that during Rodriguez' six-year tenure, ADP has yielded a total shareholder return (TSR) of 202 per cent, well in excess of the S&P 500 TSR of 128 per cent and many times over Pershing's TSR of 29 per cent.

New York-based Pershing Square typically buys large stakes in a handful of big companies and agitates executives and directors to make changes to boost shareholder returns.

ADP shares were little changed in NY trading at 11:15 a.m.

According to reports, Ackman's Pershing Square Capital had already built up an 8% stake in his target via derivatives.

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

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