Ackman’s Pershing Square loses sour ADP substitute battle

ROSELAND, N.J. (Reuters) – Activist sidestep account manager William Ackman mislaid his bid on Tuesday to win seats on a house of Automatic Data Processing Inc (ADP.O) after a hostile, months-long substitute competition that was essential to him maintaining support from some of his possess investors.

His Pershing Square sidestep account did not get any of a 3 nominees, including Ackman himself, inaugurated to ADP’s board, with reduction than 25 percent of voting shares ancillary his substitute campaign.

“This was an ass-whipping,” ADP Chief Executive Carlos Rodriguez pronounced after a opinion total was announced during a payroll processor’s annual shareholder assembly in Roseland, New Jersey.

For 3 months, Ackman and ADP have traded increasingly sour barbs by bonds filings, radio appearances, discussion calls, webcasts and private meetings with investors.

Ackman, who had approaching to win, told Reuters he felt he achieved a lot notwithstanding a loss, that he blamed on a injured substitute voting system.

“The company, in sequence to win, done a series of really poignant commitments to shareholders about growth,” he pronounced during a meeting. “If they grasp those objectives and they surpass them, afterwards we consider shareholders will be happy, a batch will go up. If they don’t, we’ll be behind subsequent year.”

ADP’s batch was down 0.5 percent during $110.76 in early trade after a opinion formula were announced.

Ackman launched a ADP substitute competition as an underdog, holding aim during a association intent in a unglamorous business of providing tellurian resources record and mostly corroborated by Wall Street. ADP’s share cost has some-more than doubled underneath Rodriguez’s tenure, and a association has posted comparatively plain gain growth.

But Ackman contends that government relief has incited ADP into an emasculate corporate slugabed pulling antiquated products that even a tip sales force could not sell. ADP has countered that Ackman brings no new ideas to a table, risks disrupting a company’s solid trail to expansion and behaves like a “spoiled brat.”

The 51-year-old billionaire had asked ADP shareholders to approve his offer to chair 3 new directors, including himself, and reject 3 others, including Chairman John Jones. He has also suggested Rodriguez is a wrong chairman for a job, and called for a depart of ADP’s record chief, Stuart Sackman.

Ackman posted double-digit waste in his pivotal supports in 2015 and 2016 due to high-profile bets relocating opposite him, and has constructed underwhelming opening this year compared to vital batch marketplace indexes. Several Pershing investors who spoke to Reuters in a run-up to a ADP opinion pronounced a outcome would impact their certainty in his investment ability.

He pronounced before a substitute conflict that he would not exit a ADP investment if a shareholder opinion went opposite him. Instead, he has pronounced he skeleton to continue agitating for change aloud and publicly from a outside.

Ackman’s Pershing Square owns roughly 2 percent of ADP’s common shares, creation it a seventh-largest voting shareholder, according to Thomson Reuters data. When counting unexercised options, a value of a interest is roughly $2.3 billion.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Roseland, New Jersey; Additional stating by Ross Kerber and Svea Herbst in Boston; Writing by Lauren Tara LaCapra; Editing by Bill Rigby and Colleen Jenkins

Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail