Blackstone Executive Vice Chairman Tony James says he's less optimistic now than before that the U.S.-China trade war could be resolved, but even a smaller deal could help...World Economyread more
The massive market transformation this month that some on Wall Street called a "once in a decade opportunity" might have just been a one-off technical move because of taxes.Marketsread more
The Pentagon will deploy U.S. forces to the Middle East on the heels of the attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced...Defenseread more
CNBC did a deep dive through the most recent Wall Street research to find stocks that analysts say are underappreciated.Marketsread more
Shares of MasterCard are up 46% this year, and 1120% since 2011, getting a boost from the strong U.S. consumer.Investingread more
CNBC sat in on an "empathy training" at Amazon PillPack's Somerville offices, which is part of new hire orientation.Technologyread more
Trade with China is the 'big unknown' for the Federal Reserve as it decides how best to support the U.S. economy, says Council on Foreign Relations Director of International...Futures Nowread more
Lobbying experts said the visit is likely an attempt to be in lawmakers' ears as they consider legislation that would impact Facebook.Technologyread more
Yardeni Research's Edward Yardeni believes the U.S. economy is picking up steam.Trading Nationread more
Iran's audacious drone and cruise missile attack on Saudi Arabia's oil producing facilities has provided a critical test yet for the Trump administration's foreign policy. A...Politicsread more
In a blow to Campbell, investor advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services came out in support Wednesday night of activist firm Third Point's efforts to put five of its nominees on the soup company board.
In the ruling, ISS criticized the soup company for poor performance, which it said "appear directly linked to shortcomings in the company's acquisition strategy, poor execution of mergers and a lack of focus on the company's core business."
ISS is typically an influential guide on how institutional shareholders should vote. Still, Campbell remains very much a family company, with descendants of the soup company's founder retaining a significant stake.
Campbell Soup heirs who hold roughly 41 percent of the company's shares have already come out in support of Campbell. Three descendants currently sit on the Campbell board.
Nonetheless, ISS pointed to a number of missteps it said the company made under its current board, underlined by its financial performance. The company delivered a roughly 19 percent total shareholder return over the last two years, while the S&P 500 has nearly tripled in the same period.
"Given the board's subpar oversight of critical issues such as M&A and succession planning, shareholders may wonder whether the incumbent board is capable of steering Campbell back on track in a timely manner," according to the ruling.
Campbell is currently unwinding efforts to diversify into fresh foods, selling brands it spent more than $1 billion on under the leadership of former CEO Denise Morrison. After struggles due to their inexperience with fresh food and an ill-timed drought, its fresh food unit posted an operating loss of $7 million last quarter.
Meantime, Campbell's $6.2 billion acquisition of pretzel and chip company Snyder's-Lance more than tripled the company's debt burden and brought with it a business that will be challenging to integrate.
The soup company, continues to stand by the deal — interim CEO Keith McLoughlin told analysts in August that the company is "even more convinced of the growth prospects and synergies."
ISS also raised questions about Campbell's dedication to its dividend, despite its poor financial performance.
"Maintaining the dividend may prove to be the right decision, though it raises the question of whether the board, which currently includes three members of the founding family, is truly considering all options," the ruling stated.
Third Point — which recently trimmed its board nominees from twelve to five — has nominated Sarah Hofstetter, president of Comscore; Bozoma Saint John, chief marketing officer of entertainment conglomerate Endeavor; Kurt Schmidt, a former director and CEO of Blue Buffalo; William Toler, former CEO of Hostess Brand and Third Point executive Munib Islam.
Campbell spokesman Thomas Hushen said in a statement Wednesday night the company strongly disagrees with ISS's conclusion.
"The Campbell board consists of 12 members, 11 of whom are independent and four of whom have been added since 2016," Hushen said.
The board combines the necessary skills — including a strong mix of industry experience, operating expertise, long-term shareholder perspectives, financial acumen, and global public company experience — needed to provide the proper oversight and strategic guidance on a variety of diverse consumer and business needs amid rapid changes in the food industry.
Interim CEO McLoughlin said last week the company proposed adding two of Third Point's nominees to its board, Kurt Schmidt and Sarah Hofstetter. McLoughlin said Third Point rejected that option.