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Pershing Square’s Ackman to mount proxy fight for Target board seats


New York City Hedge-fund manager William Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management owns about 7.8% of Target stock, told Bloomberg Television on Monday that he will nominate himself, and a slate of four experts in credit cards, real estate and food sales, to shore up expertise in areas he believes the company is underperforming.

Ackman has pressed Target’s management to sell its credit-card portfolio, buy back shares and place the land under its stores into a real estate investment trust that would lease the property back to the retailer.

Besides Ackman, the slate will include Michael Ashner, chief executive, Winthrop Realty Trust; Jim Donald, former CEO of Starbucks; governance expert Ronald Gilson; and Richard Vague, who co-founded and ran direct consumer credit-card bank, Juniper Financial.

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, Target said it has determined to nominate for re-election all four of the current directors whose terms expire at this year’s meeting.

“We are disappointed that Pershing Square has decided to pursue a costly and disruptive proxy contest, especially in light of our previous dialogue,” the chain said in a release.  “Target has a long history of being responsive to shareholders and has engaged in numerous discussions with Pershing Square over a 20-month period.

Five seats are up for election on the 13-member board.

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