The Street's sister publication, The Deal, looked back over proxy season 2017 to pinpoint the more noteworthy trends and see what might be in store for next year.
Big-Cap, Mid-Cap Targets Hold Steady
So far 2017 can be counted as another banner year for blockbuster director-election campaigns at big U.S. companies. Three companies with more than $10 billion in market capitalization were targeted with a boardroom battle or are in the midst of coming under attack in 2017, compared to three in 2016 and five in 2015, according to FactSet Research Systems Inc.
The most prominent campaign this year, of course, is Trian Fund Management's Nelson Peltz and his ongoing effort to gain a seat for himself on packaged goods behemoth Procter & Gamble's (PG) board. And Bill Ackman, after a couple of tough years, is now targeting Automatic Data Processing (ADP) with a director fight that is leaving many scratching their heads. Finally, David Einhorn conducted an ill-conceived boardroom skirmish at General Motors Co. (GM) this year, which he lost spectacularly.
However, probably the most hostile insurgency director-battle of 2017 took place at Arconic, which concluded with one CEO ousted and three new Elliott Management-backed dissident directors installed. And Jana Partners' Barry Rosenstein succeeded in driving Whole Foods Markets (WFM) to sell itself to Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) in a grocery industry-transforming deal that concluded without a director fight. Rosenstein also succeeded at getting board seats at U.S. luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. (TIF) in 2017.