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Billionaire Nelson Peltz: P&G is making my board battle the 'dumbest thing I've ever been involved in'

  • Billionaire hedge fund manager Nelson Peltz says P&G has wasted more than $100 million to fight his attempt to get on the board.
  • He says the vote on whether to elect the activist investor to Procter & Gamble's board will be close.
  • The battle comes to a head Tuesday with the shareholder vote at the company's annual meeting.

Activist investor Nelson Peltz told CNBC on Friday that P&G has wasted more than $100 million to fight his attempt to get on the board.

Given Procter & Gamble's market value of $235 billion, it's the largest company to face a proxy fight.

"This proxy fight is probably the dumbest thing I've ever been involved in," the billionaire CEO of Trian Partners said. "Think about that, $100 million, all this sales and effort, to keep me off the board," he said. "And I've said that if I come on the board, no one has to get off. I will nominate the man to come right back on."

He said the vote, scheduled for Tuesday, will be close.

"I'm not allowed to speculate," Peltz said on "Squawk Box." "But I would agree it's probably going to be close. I only have close ones."

Peltz's $12.7 billion hedge fund, Trian Partners, has taken a $3.5 billion stake in P&G. He told CNBC he's seeking a P&G board seat because the company has "lost its soul."

Peltz said Trian has gotten results even when it has lost proxy fights.

The hedge fund manager said he believes he can still work with P&G Chief Executive Officer David Taylor, adding people can mend fences after the dust settles.

Nelson Peltz
Cameron Costa | CNBC
Nelson Peltz

When asked whether Taylor should be CEO, Peltz said, "with me, absolutely," adding "Trian has a policy that we when get into a company, our goal is to work with the CEO."

In a press release Friday morning, P&G made its case for why it doesn't need Peltz on the board.

"Peltz of Trian is vying for a P&G Board seat in the middle of a successful transformation that is delivering results," the statement said. "Peltz's timing is late to P&G's turnaround."

"After extensive due diligence, we have concluded that Mr. Peltz does not fit the criteria we are seeking for the P&G Board," the statement added. "We respect Mr. Peltz as an investor and will continue to engage constructively with him as a P&G shareholder."

Peltz criticized P&G in July — and numerous times since then — saying that the company's transformation is being hindered by its "suffocating bureaucracy." The consumer products company's brands include Tide detergent, Gillette razors and Pampers diapers.

—Reuters contributed to this report.