Carl Icahn loses proxy war with McDonald’s over animal rights

Carl Icahn speaks at Delivering Alpha in New York on September 13, 2016.

David A. Grogan | CNBC

Activist investor Carl Icahn lost his proxy war with McDonald’s on Thursday, signaled that shareholders were unaffected by his animal welfare concerns.

A preliminary count of votes at the company’s annual shareholder meeting shows that nominees to Icahn’s board receive votes from only about 1% of the outstanding shares, McDonald’s said.

Going forward, McDonald’s Management and Board of Directors remain focused on continuing to take actions to uphold and enhance our values ​​and remain committed to serving the interests of all shareholders. our east,” the company said in a statement.

Icahn owns only about 200 shares of McDonald’s, a small number of shares that don’t give him much influence in terms of votes. And, as the results showed, he failed to win over his fellow shareholders when he criticized McDonald’s environmental, social and corporate governance commitments and called the major Wall Street firms “” hypocrite”.

McDonald’s President Enrique Hernandez, Jr., said in prepared remarks obtained by CNBC that Icahn was invited to speak about his nominations at the meeting but he withdrew two days ago. Icahn did not attend the meeting.

A representative for Icahn declined to comment to CNBC.

Icahn’s proxy war began in February when the billionaire publicly criticized McDonald’s for failing to meet an initial deadline by suppliers to phase out the use of pregnant crates for pregnant pigs. He also claimed the company was supposed to ban the use of crates entirely but has since changed the scope of its commitment.

For its part, the Chicago-based company has blamed the Covid-19 pandemic and African swine fever for pushing back its original 2022 deadline it set a decade ago. By the end of the year, McDonald’s now expects 85% to 90% of its U.S. pork supply to come from pigs that aren’t kept in pregnant crates if they’re confirmed to be pregnant. McDonald’s has said that phasing out the use of bins will increase costs and higher prices for customers.

McDonald’s said in a filing in early April that it expected to spend about $16 million in the proxy battle with Icahn.

The Humane Society of America issued a shareholder proposal that echoed Icahn’s criticisms but withdrew it. The proposal requires the company to confirm that it will meet its previous goal of eliminating the confinement of pregnant pigs by 2022. Otherwise, the organization requires McDonald’s to disclose more information about its pork supply chain. . Such shareholder proposals are non-binding but can send a message to a company’s board of public support for the company’s activities.

Josh Balk, the Humane Society’s vice president of farm animal welfare, said in a statement that the group withdrew the proposal because McDonald’s had finally admitted that its suppliers were still locked up. Pregnant pigs in the crate.

Icahn is waging a similar proxy war at Krogeroperator of America’s largest supermarket chain at Kroger America’s annual meeting scheduled for June 23.

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