Nelson Peltz may not be able to spell, but he’s pretty sure that Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor and his profligate goons can’t count. Certainly, they didn’t seem to be counting when blowing nine figures in the “dumbest thing” Peltz has ever been involved in, which is to say the largest proxy battle in history, with P&G dropping $100 million all to keep the Trian Fund Management chief from becoming one of 11 voices on its board. And now he’s not so sure that they can count ballots properly.
"Based on preliminary results P&G shareholders have elected all 11 pot--of the company's directors," said P&G CEO David Taylor. "On behalf of the P&G board of directors, I want to thank you for your support for our board and plan and input throughout the proxy contest and look forward to continuing this transformative journey."
Unfortunately for Taylor, his spokesman wasn’t exactly on-message when he discussed the extremely close tally.
While most votes are cast online, an unusually large number of votes being cast the by paper ballot could slow the counting process, a P&G spokesman said Tuesday. “If it gets really close, there’s a Florida situation,” he told reporters before the meeting, referring to the 2000 U.S. presidential election.
Trian quickly made clear that it would wait for the counting process to be completed, saying that its bean counters say things a “too close to call,” but also sounding an elegiac, concessionary tone: “Regardless of the final voting results, Trian believes management and the Board have been put on notice by shareholders—a continuation of the past decade’s underperformance is simply unacceptable.”
But Peltz has been spending some time with the president’s people and getting some pointers about how to deal with a rigged election, and he rather quickly changed tack. And in just a few minutes with CNBC’s Sara Eisen, he pulled expertly from the Trump playbook. First, portray your billionaire corporate-raider self as a man of the people:
"I threatened the hallowed halls of that boardroom," Peltz said, adding "ego" was the reason P&G opposed his appointment…. He has said he was seeking a P&G board seat because the company has "lost its soul."
Next, run against the establishment:
Peltz has said the company's transformation is being hindered by its "suffocating bureaucracy."
Third, cry “fake news!” and offer alternative facts:
After P&G's announcement that it had turned back giving the activist investor a seat on its board, Peltz said: "Our numbers don't say that."
Finally, make clear the only legitimate election is one that you win, because the only way you can possibly lose is through massive voter fraud:
He told "Squawk on the Street" the vote is probably plus or minus 1 percent. He said "no matter what happens," P&G should put him on the board.
"Because even if they win, which I'm not sure they did, think of what a pyrrhic victory is it. Think about it. I mean everybody but the current employees voted for us up and down the line," Peltz said.
P&G says shareholders reject Peltz by slim margin in largest-ever proxy battle [CNBC]
Nelson Peltz: Vote on Procter & Gamble Proxy War Is ‘Too Close to Call’ [TheStreet]
P&G Says Peltz Has Lost Bid for Board Seat; Trian Says Vote Is Too Close to Call [WSJ]
P&G put ‘ego’ over shareholder interests, a somber Peltz says as he challenges vote [CNBC]
Billionaire Nelson Peltz: P&G is making my board battle the ‘dumbest thing I’ve ever been involved in’ [CNBC]
Procter & Gamble Bets on Electoral Math to Keep Nelson Peltz Away [DealBook]