(Reuters) - DuPont, embroiled in a proxy war with activist investor Trian Fund Management LP for board seats, said it would hold its annual shareholder meeting on May 13.
Trian is seeking four seats on DuPont’s board, including one for its Chief Executive Nelson Peltz, to help it force the company to split into two.
DuPont earlier this month rejected the hedge fund’s proposal to add two nominees each to its board and the board of a unit it plans to spin off.
The chemical conglomerate, in an attempt to end the proxy war, has said it is prepared to accept one of the fund’s nominees, but has refused to add Peltz to its board.
“One of the key reasons Peltz wants to get on (the board) is that he doesn’t think anyone would push for a break up (of DuPont) like he would,” a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.
DuPont had said is would spin off its performance chemicals business, but Peltz wants the company to also separate its volatile but cash flow-strong materials businesses from its nutrition and health, agriculture, and industrial biosciences divisions.
DuPont has rejected the proposal, stressing that keeping its businesses together would allow the company to benefit from its science platform, global scale, market access and brand.
Peltz’s Trian seemingly softened its stance on the break up in February, saying the fund was “open-minded” about keeping DuPont together.
However, Peltz said in interview to CNBC earlier this month that breaking up the company would be “the most efficient way” to get rid of $2 billion to $4 billion in costs.
“Trian’s proposal grossly underestimates the significant upfront separation costs and dis-synergies associated with a breakup, both on a one-time and an ongoing basis,” DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a letter to shareholders on Monday.
A Trian spokeswoman declined to comment.
DuPont shares were nearly unchanged at $74.34 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s shares have risen 13 percent since Trian went public with its break-up proposal in September.
Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Savio D'Souza