Hedge fund Starboard Value nominated Monday two additional directors to Newell Brands' board, after the Rubbermaid maker sought to defend against the activist's proxy battle by boosting its board size from nine to 11.
Starboard, which has been pushing to replace Newell's entire board and chief executive Michael Polk, tossed the names of Bridget Ryan Berman and Robert A. Steele into the ring. Newell in February nominated James Craigie, Debra Crew and Judith Sprieser to its board.
The nominations come as the battle heats up between the brand conglomerate and an increasing number of Wall Street giants. Starboard is working with serial entrepreneur Martin Franklin in the proxy fight. Franklin sold his company, Jarden — itself a collection of consumer brands — to Newell, before resigning from the board earlier this year in a disagreement over its corporate strategy.
Last week, legendary investor Carl Icahn chimed in, saying he too he has a stake in Newell and believes the company is undervalued.
Franklin and two other executives who had joined the Newell board as part of the Jarden acquisition, Ian Ashken and Domenico De Sole, announced their resignations from the Newell board in January. Shortly thereafter, Franklin and Ashken teamed up with Starboard.
Last week, Ros L'Esperance, executive vice chairman for the investment bank at UBS, marked a fourth departure from the Newell board. L'Esperance, who went to college with Ian Ashken and is close with Franklin, had joined the Newell board as part of the Jarden deal as well.
Although L'Esperance is not taking a stance on the battle between Starboard and Newell, her position on its board was complicated by her long-standing relationship with Franklin and Ashken, sources familiar with the matter tell CNBC. L'Esperance could not be reached for comment.