H.J. Heinz Co. shareholders elected some of Trian Group's dissident candidates to the company's board of directors, based on preliminary voting results from today's annual meeting in Pittsburgh supplied by its proxy solicitor, Innisfree M&A, according to a statement from Trian. The statement didn't indicate which of Trian's candidates were elected; the hedge fund company offered five candidates for election to the 12-member Heinz board.
Heinz announced that, based on a preliminary count, the Trian Group didn't get five seats on the board, said William Mullen, Heinz spokesman. He said the company wouldn't say if any Trian candidates were elected. Heinz won't release a preliminary tally of the vote because of more than 60 million or nearly 20%, of 332 million shares outstanding were cast at the meeting, Mr. Mullen said.
IVS Associates, an independent tabulator of the vote, will certify the results Sept. 15, although it could be earlier depending on how long the vote count takes, Mr. Mullen said.
Patrick J. McGurn, special counsel, executive vice president and director-corporate programs of Institutional Shareholder Services, called such a huge proportion of late voting unprecedented. It shows that many shareholders were undecided until today, he said. ISS recommended support for three of the Trian candidates.
Among shareholders, the $205.8 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, voted its 1.66 million shares for Heinz's 12 nominees.