Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) has been at the center of attention over the summer, first as its CEO stepped down and then for pursuing a sale of the company. Now activist investor Dan Loeb and his firm Third Point are looking to further take control of Campbell and influence a sale, this time through the board of directors.
In August, Third Point and its affiliates announced that they had acquired 17 million shares for a 5.65% stake in Campbell Soup. At the time, the SEC filing had some rather unusual wording in it regarding the purpose of the transaction: disastrous fiscal 3q18 earnings report, abysmal oversight, permitted management missteps, dismal operating performance, ill-advised acquisitions, current CEO vacuum and so on.
With this increased stake, Loeb and Third Point are hoping to further sway other investors to their cause. In this case, Third Point plans to elect an entirely new board of directors that would be more open to a sale of the company.
On Friday, Campbell Soup confirmed receipt of Third Point’s nomination of a slate of 12 director candidates to stand for election at the company’s 2018 annual meeting of shareholders.
Keith McLoughlin, interim president and CEO, commented:
On August 30th, Campbell announced the results of a comprehensive Board-led strategy and portfolio review to stabilize the company, improve performance and drive shareholder value. As part of the review process, the Board, together with outside advisors, considered a full slate of strategic options and determined that the best path forward to maximize shareholder value, at this time, is to optimize the company’s portfolio, divest certain businesses and pay down debt, and further reduce costs.
Shares of Campbell Soup were last seen trading at $39.89, with a consensus analyst price target of $37.07 and a 52-week range of $32.63 to $51.07.