Pay­ment group ADP hits out at Ack­man’s ‘lethargy’ claims

The Daily Telegraph - - Business - By Lucy Bur­ton

TEN­SIONS be­tween bil­lion­aire Bill Ack­man and pay­roll pro­cess­ing gi­ant ADP have in­ten­si­fied after the US com­pany said the ac­tivist in­vestor’s lat­est plan for the group “be­trays a fun­da­men­tal lack of un­der­stand­ing”.

Mr Ack­man’s in­vest­ment fund Per­sh­ing Square, which took a sec­ondary list­ing in Lon­don in May, this week called for ma­jor change at the “lethar­gic and in­ef­fi­cient sleep­ing gi­ant” in which it has an 8pc stake.

ADP hit back at Per­sh­ing’s 168-page re­port – say­ing it strongly dis­agreed with the anal­y­sis and “is not rest­ing on its lau­rels”.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ac­tivist in­vestor and Car­los Ro­driguez, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of ADP, has be­come some­what strained in re­cent weeks. Mr Ro­driguez de­scribed the hedge fund man­ager as a “spoiled brat” in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view he gave ear­lier in the month.

His com­ment, re­fer­ring to Mr Ack­man’s push for lead­er­ship changes and more board seats at the com­pany, was a rare ex­am­ple of a chief ex­ec­u­tive pub­licly crit­i­cis­ing one of its ma­jor share­hold­ers.

Per­sh­ing said in a fil­ing this week that Mr Ro­driguez had ac­ci­den­tally emailed Mr Ack­man ear­lier this month say­ing he did not find the in­vestor’s will­ing­ness to work with him cred­i­ble.

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