Ackman seeks board seats, CEO ouster at ADP

Dianna Christensen
August 5, 2017

The investor is also planning to push for margin improvements, but didn't mention plans for a major financial overhaul, they said.

The Roseland, N.J., human-resources software company said its board unanimously rejected the "last-minute" request, as the deadline for board nominees has been public for almost a year.

ADP said that Ackman is seeking to nominate five board directors, including himself, to ADP's ten-member board, and also to oust Carlos Rodriguez, the company's chief executive since 2011. ADP's board includes 10 people. Pershing Square was reportedly offered 11.10 to 11.40 each for shares that, at their late 2015 high, traded at 263.81.

The news comes about a week after Pershing Square announced it was taking a stake in the company.

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Shares in Chipotle, on which Pershing Square spent about $1.17 billion previous year, are down more than 17 percent since the stake was disclosed. After spending the better part of two years trying to convince just about anyone his investment in Valeant was a good one, Ackman more recently referred to the effort at the controversial drugmaker as a "huge mistake". "Since Carlos Rodriguez became CEO almost six years ago, ADP's total shareholder return of 202% is well in excess of the S&P 500 TSR of 128% - and is many multiples of Pershing's TSR of 29%", the release said.

This isn't the first time Ackman has owned a stake in ADP. From the beginning of the year through July 26, the day before Bloomberg News reported on Pershing Square's stake, the company's stock had risen about 3 percent, compared to about 9 percent for the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index.

Shares in ADP rose almost 2.8 percent in premarket trading on Friday, to $114.85. The company has a market value of $50 billion.

ADP stock was down slightly as of Friday morning, but is up 8% year-to-date.

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