Ackman Wants Ceridian Breakup

The activist investor calls the Thomas H. Lee deal 'suboptimal.'
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Activist investor William Ackman hired Lazard Freres to field a higher bid for


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Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital Management and owns Ceridian shares, said in a letter to Ceridian shareholders filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

that he believes a plan to sell the company for $36 a share "is an ill-suited response to our proxy contest, and is suboptimal for Ceridian stockholders." Ackman says that since Ceridian announced its sale plan, "we have received expressions of interests from both strategic buyers and financial sponsors who are interested in pursuing a variety of possible transactions."

Ackman indicates in the letter that Pershing would want to either sell the whole company at a higher price or pursue another deal, such as a split of Ceridian's two main businesses or "a recapitalization, dividend or self-tender transaction where significant value can be returned to stockholders."

Ceridian, a Minneapolis-based transaction processor and human resources company, agreed May 31 to sell itself to a group led by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners and

Fidelity National Financial

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. The deal offered just a 5% premium to previous-day trading prices in Ceridian stock, though the buyers pointed to a 17% premium to the price before Ceridian put itself on the block back in February.

Shares closed Tuesday at $35.21.