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Procter & Gamble faces fight with activist investor Peltz

BlackRock president on investing

Activist investor Nelson Peltz is taking on the biggest company to ever face a proxy fight. 

Peltz said he wants to secure a seat on the board at consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble (PG), a demand that comes after P&G earlier this month rejected a request from his firm, Trian Fund Management, to name him a director. In a statement, Peltz pointed to what he described as a disappointing financial performance at P&G for his desire to help the company "address the challenges it is facing."

Activist investors have gained increasing influence among America's public companies, with the likes of Peltz and William Ackman taking aim at companies with underwhelming stock performance. Procter & Gamble, with a market value of more than $222 billion, has suffered from lagging stock market returns and a shrinking market share, while burdened with a bloated, slow-moving managerial class, Trian said in a statement.

"As a member of the board, it would be my goal to help improve performance by increasing sales and profits and regaining lost market share," Peltz said in a statement. "I also believe the board must address the company's structure and culture. I can add far more value operating within the P&G boardroom than by merely looking in from the outside."

Trian Fund Management LP, which owns about $3.3 billion worth of P&G shares, said that it's not looking to break up P&G or replace CEO David Taylor or remove other board members.

The Procter & Gamble Co., based in Cincinnati, said in a release that it's maintained an active dialogue with Trian, but that it's sticking with strategy.

"P&G's board and management team are keenly focused on executing the Company's strategy to drive innovation, accelerate organic sales and volume growth, improve productivity and cost structure, and strengthen P&G's organization and culture," the company said in a statement. 

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