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Target rejects Ackman board slate


Minneapolis Target Corp. announced it has apparently succeeded in rejecting an alternate slate of directors put up by activist shareholder William Ackman.

Ackman, the head of Pershing Square Capital Management, has sought for months to have his own slate of directors, which included himself, replace the existing board. Thursday’s preliminary vote count, provided by proxy solicitors, shows that Target shareholders gave the company the nod and re-elected Target’s slate of directors.

Ackman has argued that Target needed new perspective, especially in the areas of retail and real estate so it can better compete with rival Wal-Mart Stores.

Shareholders rejected those arguments at Target's shareholder meeting outside Milwaukee, also siding with the company in approving a measure that sets the board's size at 12 members.

The four incumbents who appear to have been re-elected at the 2009 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are Mary N. Dillon, Richard M. Kovacevich, George W. Tamke and Solomon D. Trujillo.

“On behalf of Target’s board of directors and management team, we thank our shareholders for their overwhelming support throughout this process,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO. “Today’s outcome demonstrates the confidence Target shareholders have in our board’s qualifications, diversity and experience to provide effective and independent oversight and direction to the company, contributing to the creation of one of the most recognized brands in the United States. We remain dedicated to serving the interests of all shareholders by sustaining Target’s competitive advantage, driving continued profitable growth and generating substantial shareholder value over time.”

IVS Associates, the independent inspector of elections, has indicated that it expects to issue a preliminary tabulation of the vote results in three-to-four weeks. Final results of the election will be announced once they are certified by the inspector.

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