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Home Depot Blinks

It gives Relational a board seat in exchange for ending a proxy battle.

Home Depot (HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Report gave activist shareholder Relational Investors a board seat, ending a brief proxy skirmish that focused on the struggling leadership's management and strategic direction.

Atlanta-based Home Depot said David H. Batchelder, a principal of Relational, will join the Home Depot board Feb. 22. San Diego-based Relational began militating for change at Home Depot in December, just a month before CEO Bob Nardelli agreed to depart with a widely criticized $210 million payout.

In announcing the agreement, Ralph Whitworth, principal of Relational, and Frank Blake, chairman and CEO of The Home Depot, said: "We are very pleased to have reached this understanding, which will give The Home Depot the benefit of Relational's strategic business advice without a costly and distracting proxy solicitation by Relational."

When it started making noise in December about the need for a strategic rethink at Home Depot, Relational said it owned more than $500 million worth of the stock. Relational also recently played a role in a shakeup that led to Jay Sidhu's departure from

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