Billionaire activist Bill Ackman is defending a blockbuster campaign he has underway at Automated Data Processing Inc. (ADP - Get Report) , arguing during an hour-long call intended to reach the payroll firm's large retail investor base that the company's corporate headquarters and U.S. offices should be integrated.
"The opportunity here is relatively straightforward," Ackman said on a webcast. "Restructure the organization, reduce its complexity, redesign the incentives, make it focused more on the clients, reduce bureaucracy and consolidate the footprint of the real estate."
The comments come as some investors have grown weary of Ackman's investment prowess. Troubles with investments in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Ltd. (VRX) and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG - Get Report) suggest that investors may be wary of supporting Ackman. ADP has fought back, pointing out that its total shareholder returns have significantly outperformed the S&P 500 in recent years.
On Capitol Hill, an area that investors seem to have been able to avoid over the past few days as President Trump made major headlines with tweets against the NFL and the tax talk wained, things were percolating as well.
NAFTA renegotiations are heating up and large sections of the business community as well as lawmakers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico are getting nervous.
The fourth round of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement kicked off in Arlington, Virginia, on Wednesday. Officials are expected to cover more than two dozen topics during the seven-day event. Reports indicate the Trump administration has on the agenda a handful of proposals that stand to prompt significant backlash from the United States' trading partners as well as interested parties at home.
In other news, TheStreet officially welcomes our new personal finance columnist Robert Powell. Mr. Powell will be working closely with TheStreet's various products and will be contributing to a number of individual newsletters including Income Seeker, which primarily concentrates dividend stocks, treasuries and other fixed-income products. His first piece for Real Money, tackles General Electric Co. (GE - Get Report) , whose recent share decline and underperformance has investors fearful of their precious dividend.
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Photo of the day: Bagging groceries for 134 years
Executives at Kroger Co. (KR - Get Report) walked away from Wednesday's trading day with some proverbial egg on their face. Shares of the Cincinnati-based grocer were halted briefly after the company said it was putting its convenience store business up for sale. No, it wasn't the sale that halted traded, but the fact that the company misstated revenues for the division. On the face, not a huge deal, but when you consider the company originally said the unit had $1.4 billion in revenue when in all actuality the unit has about $4 billion in revenue. But what's a 65% error among friends? Kroger wasn't always the sprawling supermarket and c-store giant it is today. The company was founded in 1883 by Barney Kroger who invested his life savings of $372 to open a grocery store at 66 Pearl Street in downtown Cincinnati. Over the next 130-plus years the company would grow from its single location in Cinci to a company with more than $60 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 locations nationwide. Still, with Amazon and Whole Foods now shaking up the grocery space, its hard to tell what the next 130 years will look like.
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