Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) has rejected a request from Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management to extend him a director nomination while calling out the fund's poor performance in recent years -- a sound decision given the company's total shareholder return under its current chief executive officer is about seven times the hedge fund's.
The activist investor is seeking to take control of the ADP board and replace CEO Carlos Rodriguez, ADP said on Friday. Pershing Square wants to install five dissident director candidates, including Ackman, onto ADP's 10-member board. The deadline to nominate directors is Aug. 10 but Ackman is looking to extend the deadline by 30 to 45 days, ADP said. Pershing Square owns an 8% stake, largely in derivatives.
Shares of ADP initially jumped 3% in premarket trading but the stock fell 0.3% to $111.42 at around 12:30 p.m. during the trading session on Friday.
In ADP's rejection of Ackman's request, the human resource company highlighted Pershing Square's poor performance, particularly compared to Rodriguez's performance as CEO.
"Since Carlos Rodriguez became CEO nearly six years ago, ADP's total shareholder return [TSR] of 202% is well in excess of the S&P 500 TSR of 128% -- and is many multiples of Pershing's TSR of 29%," ADP said in a statement.
Since 2012, Pershing's investments have had mixed results. Notably, the fund exited its position in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX) in March, which cost its investors more than $3 billion. Ackman called the Valeant investment a "huge mistake" in his annual letter to Pershing Square shareholders.