ROSELAND, N.J. — William Ackman lost his bid for three seats on the board of Automatic Data Processing Inc., a resounding rebuke of the struggling activist investor as shareholders sided with management at the human-resources software company.
investors on Tuesday re-elected the entire 10-person board at its annual meeting, capping a battle between management and Ackman that was particularly acrimonious and colorful — even by typical proxy-fight standards.
Ackman, who according to ADP won less than 25% of the shares that were voted, said he got “a very significant amount of shareholder support.” But ADP Chief Executive Carlos Rodriguez disagreed, closing the meeting with a parting shot from the stage. “Bill…despite your characterization of the result as close, what I was told was this was an ‘ass-whooping,’” he said.
The fight between Ackman and ADP was nasty from the very start. ADP in August announced Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP had built a stake, a release that pre-empted the activist investor’s own disclosures. And it rejected his initial demands on a morning Ackman said he was headed for vacation. Rodriguez, in a TV interview later in August, called him a “spoiled brat.”
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