(Reuters) – Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N), which is in the midst of a proxy battle with Third Point LLC, said on Friday it offered to add two of the hedge fund’s nominees to its board, after a similar proposal was rejected by the activist investor.
FILE PHOTO – Daniel S. Loeb, founder of Third Point LLC, participates in a panel discussion during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
The soup maker had proposed adding Kurt Schmidt and Sarah Hofstetter from the hedge fund’s slate to the board following its annual meeting. However, Third Point had rejected the offer, Campbell said.
“Nonetheless, we believe it is important for all of our shareholders to know that we are offering to add … Mr. Schmidt and Ms. Hofstetter,” the company said.
Earlier on Friday, Third Point, the $17 billion hedge fund run by Daniel Loeb, cut the number of nominees to the company’s board to five from 12.
Loeb’s smaller slate of five includes Third Point executive Munib Islam, Comscore’s (SCOR.O) Sarah Hofstetter, pet food maker Blue Buffalo’s CEO Kurt Schmidt, Hostess Brands’ (TWNK.O) former CEO William Toler and Bozoma Saint John, a former Uber executive.
The investment firm has accused the 149-year-old packaged food company of mismanagement and destroying shareholder value.
Both Campbell and Third Point have sparred over plans for the company’s future as it struggles with falling soup sales and higher debt in the wake of its Snyder’s-Lance acquisition.
In September, the hedge fund had nominated 12 directors, including an heir of Campbell’s controlling family, to replace all board members at the company’s upcoming Nov. 29 shareholder meeting.
Heirs of the Dorrances, one of America’s richest families, have long controlled Campbell and currently sit on its board.
The heirs have said they intend to vote their 41 percent ownership stake in favor of Campbell’s current board. Third Point owns a roughly 7 percent stake in the company.
Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal and Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta