Bill Ackman appears to have struck again. Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD) has announced that it will look for a new chief executive officer after holding talks with Ackman and his firm. The company said it will also add three new directors two its board.
Air Products talks with Bill Ackman
Air Products said today in a statement (via PR Newsire) that it had “a constructive dialogue” with Ackman’s firm Pershing Square Capital Management, Current CEO John McGlade will retire in 2014, and the company said it will begin looking for a new CEO immediately. Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD) said it formed a new search committee made up of board members which will search for the new CEO, along with help from “a leading executive search firm.”
McGlade will keep serving as the company’s chairman and CEO and then remain chairman during a transition period after the new CEO is found.
Ackman closing in on Air Products
Today’s announcement comes approximately two months after Ackman revealed that he had invested billions of dollars in the company. In July, Pershing Square revealed that it had a 9.8 percent stake in Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD). That revelation came right after Ackman said he had selected a new target company on which to go activist. Air Products also adopted a poison pill right after detecting that one shareholder, which turned out to be Ackman’s firm, was amassing a significant stake.
The three new board directors are Seifi Ghasemi, Edward Monser and Matthew Paull, and they will become part of the board right away. Three of the company’s current directors will be retiring ahead of the company’s annual meeting in 2014, and Ghasemi, Monser and Paull will then be up for election to the company’s board. Ackman’s firm has agreed to vote in favor of these three nominees at the company’s 2014 annual meeting.
Analysts becoming more positive on Air Products
Since Ackman’s interest in Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD) was revealed, analysts at several firms have become more positive on the company. Baird analysts noted last month that Ackman would take steps to unlock value at Air Products. BGC analysts upgraded the company earlier this month, while analysts at Atlantic Equities upgraded it last week.
Shares of Air Products have climbed steadily since Ackman’s stake was disclosed, rising from around $90 a share up to just under $110 per share.