An activist investor running a slate of candidates for the board of Campbell Soup Co. just wants to take over the company so he can sell it, the board chairman said in a letter to shareholders.
The letter from Les Vinney, who has been chairman of Campbell’s board for about three years, denounced activist investor Daniel Loeb, whose Third Point hedge fund bought about 8.4% of Campbell’s shares less than five months ago. Vinney wrote that “the truth is that Third Point is only interested in pursuing an immediate sale of Campbell.”
Third Point is running a slate of candidates for the next board election, scheduled for Nov. 29. One of these is George Strawbridge, a descendant of the company’s founding Dorrance family. Two other Dorrance descendants, siblings Bennett Dorrance and Mary Alice Dorrance Malone, hold about a third of the company’s stock between them and are seen as Loeb’s most prominent opponents.
Vinney called Third Point’s candidates “unqualified” and said Third Point “has not provided any new ideas to enhance shareholder value.” Campbell’s share price is down almost 20% since the beginning of the year, now standing at about $38 a share.