The fight over the future of Campbell’s Soup has so far featured everything you’d want from an activist campaign: A demand that an old and venerable company sell itself. A family feud. An entire board of directors’ heads on the block. Some sweet intransigence on the part of the elderly heirs and heiresses running the show. Dan Loeb.
All that the Third Point-Campbell’s battle royale has thus far lacked has been a trip to the courthouse. Thankfully, Loeb has rectified that with a hot and spicy bowl of litigation, full of all the angry, meaty flavor of recrimination.
In a lawsuit filed in state superior court in Camden, New Jersey, which is Campbell’s hometown, Third Point said Campbell and its board “breached their fiduciary duties to Campbell’s stockholders by withholding material information critical to stockholders assessing how to vote at the company’s annual meeting….”
It asked the court to prevent Campbell from holding its annual meeting on Nov. 29 until the board corrects what Third Point called its misstatements….
The lawsuit said the company failed to disclose critical information about its directors, including Dorrance’s grandchild Bennett Dorrance. It accused the company of not making adequately clear what Dorrance’s business ventures and investments were, among other things….
“Third Point might be hoping to obtain damaging and embarrassing documentation such as emails during discovery. This worked well for them in the Sotheby’s proxy contest,” where the hedge fund was given three board seats in 2014, he added.
No, wait, that would make this complete.