Target investors shoot down Ackman

May 28, 2009


When an activist investor comes to town, it appears that Target security goes on high alert.

While Target had its shareholders, including hedge fund manager William Ackman, and the media fly to one of its yet-unfinished stores outside of Milwaukee to attend their annual meeting, it greeted them with a heavy security detail.

From guards zooming around the parking lot on segway personal transporters to chase down wayward  parkers, to Target employees scanning shareholders with handheld metal dectors when they entered its stores, Target made it very clear it was in no mood for fun and games at its annual meeting.  

But the heavy handed approach did not seem to be needed.

Target shareholders ended up handing a loss to Ackman, who was seeking five spots on the retailer’s board in a closely watched proxy battle with the large U.S. retailer.

Investors instead reelected the four directors nominated by Target and voted to set the board size at 12, rather than the 13 Akman sought.

Despite getting teary-eyed during his speech at the annual meeting Ackman kept his comments cordial, as did Target. In fact, Ackman said he hoped to have a cordial relationship with the retailer after the meeting was over. 

And that was about the extent of the melodrama in the showdown in Waukesha.

(Photo: Reuters)

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