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P&G signals activist investor Nelson Peltz fails in bid for board seat

Trian Fund Management LP appeared to lose its proxy battle with Procter & Gamble Co. Oct. 10 as shareholders voted to elect the consumer products giant's nominees to its board of directors and shut out activist investor Nelson Peltz.

The shareholders elected all 11 board candidates nominated by the company, Chairman and CEO David Taylor told an audience at the company's annual meeting in Cincinnati. The results of the vote are preliminary, and the company did not disclose the number of votes Peltz or any other board candidate received.

In a statement, Trian said the vote was "too close to call," adding that it would wait for certified results from independent auditors.

Shareholders also rejected a separate proposal from Trian that would have repealed all provisions and amendments enacted solely with board approval since April 8, 2016.

Taylor told investors in Cincinnati that P&G would continue to work with Peltz, CEO of Trian, which owns about $3.5 billion or the company's stock.

The vote marks the culmination of nearly three months of conflict between Trian and P&G. In August, both sides said they planned to spend a combined $60 million to make their cases to shareholders and solicit their votes, according to filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

When Trian first began its campaign in July, the firm pointed to what it saw as shortcomings in the company's performance.

Peltz argued that P&G's products, such as the company's Gillette shaving razors, had lost ground to rivals, such as Unilever Plc's Dollar Shave Club. As a remedy, P&G should develop smaller labels that would appeal more to millennial consumers and shoppers in certain parts of the world, Peltz said.

In September, the firm issued a white paper outlining Peltz's plan for the company in the event he won a board seat. The plan included a reorganization of the company into three business units, down from its current four, as well as cuts to administrative expenses.

P&G executives opposed adding Peltz to their board, arguing that they were in the midst of implementing their own turnaround strategy. At a conference shortly after Trian released its white paper, CEO Taylor said the company had developed new products within its old brands, such as Tide PODS single-load laundry detergent packs.

The company also argued that Trian's reorganization plan set the stage for a breakup of P&G, a claim the fund denied.