P&G board stands by CEO, Ackman's stake is $1.8 billion

Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:53pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co's (PG.N: Quote) independent directors said the board supports Chief Executive Bob McDonald and his turnaround plan, while William Ackman confirmed his stake in the world's largest household products company is worth about $1.8 billion.

The board action came nearly a week after Ackman, the activist investor, revealed that his Pershing Square Capital Management took a stake in the maker of Tide detergent and Pampers diapers.

"The board is overseeing a plan to return P&G results to levels that produce the best long-term value for shareholders; unanimously supports the plan and Chief Executive Officer, Bob McDonald, as he leads its implementation; and is monitoring its effectiveness," they said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday morning.

Hours later, Ackman told CNBC's Delivering Alpha conference that Pershing's stake is worth about $1.8 billion, plus some options. That gives his firm roughly a 1 percent stake in P&G.

It is "very hard" to lose money in P&G at the current share price or the price Pershing paid, "which is below the current share price," Ackman said at the New York event, which was also broadcast on the cable news channel. He added that he looks forward to meeting P&G's CEO.

P&G, which is in the midst of a $10 billion restructuring and other changes, declined to make board members available for interviews.

Ackman has been instrumental in shaking up management at other companies, including Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO: Quote) and J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N: Quote).

Pershing Square told investors this week it recently sold its position in Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote) and used that money to buy P&G shares.

Ackman's interest in P&G was disclosed on July 12. Cincinnati-based P&G's shares rose 3.7 percent on July 12 and another 2.2 percent on July 13.   Continued...

Bob McDonald, chairman and chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble, speaks during a discussion regarding famine in Africa at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson