Dan Loeb’s Gonna Have To Eat A Lot Of Chunky Chili Mac To Turn Campbell’s Around

‘Cause two board seats probably ain’t gonna do it.
© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro / 

© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro /

Dan Loeb had big plans for Campbell Soup. First, he wanted to sell all the soup in Camden. Then, he wanted to throw the whole board into the recycling bin, along with every member of the founding family save one. Then, he demanded the head of at least one of those elderly scions on a legal plate. Then, he insisted those aged heirs and heiresses assemble a time machine out of empty and rusty soup cans to go back and undo all of the stock buybacks they’d done over the past 30 years.

Then, he said he’d settle for just five directors, not even a majority. So I guess it’s to be expected that he could eventually be bargained down to the proxy fight equivalent of a few tablespoons of expired, cold, leftover cream of shrimp and a pat on the head.

The agreement allows Loeb’s Third Point to appoint independent directors Sarah Hofstetter and Kurt Schmidt to the board and expands the board’s size to 14 from 12. Third Point has agreed to a 12-month standstill and “certain support commitments” and to dismiss its litigation, Campbell said in a joint statement Monday….

Campbell has also invited Third Point to present views at two board meetings and two meetings with Campbell’s CEO within the next 12 months, the company said.

Perhaps this should not surprise, given that Loeb’s whole enterprise was essentially doomed from the start, even with the backing of all the proxy advisors in the world. Still, it is definitely disappointing, and not only because we never got to see Loeb whip up a batch of Entrenched Descendants Gumbo.

This conclusion isn’t going to do much to pick up the pace of transformation and innovation at Campbell. Investors seem to agree, at least initially: The stock declined more than 3 percent Monday…. With only two seats at the table, it’s not going to be particularly easy to exert influence.

Campbell Soup Reaches Deal to End Proxy Fight With Loeb [Bloomberg]
Who Wins in This Campbell Soup-Loeb Compromise? [BloombergOpinion]