NEW YORK— Third Point LLC continued its dispute with the Campbell Soup Co. on Oct. 1. The New York-based asset management firm filed a definitive proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to replace the entire board of directors of Campbell based on what it refers to as leadership “blunders.”
Third Point increased its share of the outstanding capital stock of the Camden, New Jersey-based company to 5.65 percent last month. A letter was addressed to fellow Campbell Soup shareholders on Sept. 28.
“During this proxy season, you have an opportunity to vote for new, energetic, shareholder-aligned leadership, known as the ‘Independent Slate,’ and replace Campbell’s entrenched board of directors who we believe made a series of strategic mistakes and operational failures that have destroyed the value of your holdings,” Third Point said in the letter. “We want to work with you to help reverse Campbell’s deteriorating performance, regain your lost investment, and put this important American company on a new path of growth, innovation, and profitability.”
On Aug. 30, Campbell Soup released a strategic review that included the company divest its Campbell International and Campbell Fresh business units. Proceeds from the divestitures will be used to reduce debt. The announcement followed a company-wide portfolio review in late May.
“Management is focused on implementing the plan and setting the foundation for sustainable, profitable growth in fiscal 2020 and beyond,” Campbell said in a statement on Oct. 1 responding to Third Point. “Importantly, the Board remains committed to evaluating all strategic options to enhance value in the future.”
Third Point also said that Campbell’s leadership should be held accountable for failing to deliver results for its shareholders, including delays in hiring a new CEO. The former president and CEO Denise Morrison retired on May 18.
On Sept. 7, Third Point made a similar request for the board to be replaced that was directed to Les Vinney, chairman of Campbell Soup’s board.
In that letter, Third Point hedge fund manager Daniel S. Loeb released nominees that have experience in operations, marketing, strategy, transactions, leadership, capital allocation and general corporate governance. The list of nominees is available at www.refreshcampbells.com/our-nominees/
Third Point echoed many of the same sentiments in the latest letter and tried to appeal to shareholders.
“Regardless of the number of shares you own, you are an owner of Campbell Soup Co., an iconic American brand that has floundered under the current Board’s leadership. It is up to you to vote for change,” the Oct. 1 letter said. “The Board will reach out to you with claims that this time will be different and a promise that they can set the company on a better path.”