P&G May Be Less of a Gamble Than You Think

Tickers in this article: PG
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It could be like the showdown at the OK Corral -- or maybe we should call it the P&G Corral.

Activist investor and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman said in an interview last Monday he's expecting the board of Procter & Gamble (PG) to "do their job."

By that Ackman was referring to his overt lack of confidence in PG CEO Bob McDonald, who Ackman believes has lost the confidence of his senior managers. "I think it's unlikely that Bob McDonald is the right person for the company based on his track record there," Ackman said in the interview.

It's not unusual for an activist hedge fund manager who owns directly or indirectly $2 billion in P&G shares, or roughly 1% of the company, to want to get his money's worth in any way possible. Just the drama alone that's been stirred up has helped PG shares higher, as the chart below illustrates.

 Chart data by YCharts

Perhaps Ackman is looking at the same distressing plunge in "Cash from Operations Quarterly" line in the chart above. It should also be noted that at least 35% of the outstanding "float" of PG shares are owned by institutions and mutual funds. The board of directors of PG has some powerful eyeballs looking over their shoulders, and the pressure is mounting with every passing day.

Ackman has accused the company of being "bloated" and lacking new ideas, new products and the innovative spirit that unleashes the true value locked into the company's book value, tangible net asset value and earnings power. He evidently believes the sum of the parts are greater than the whole PG.

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The Cincinnati-based company and its issues with Ackman was the focus of a news story in the Business Courier , which serves the greater Cincinnati area.

The Courier story quoted a PG spokesman who said, when asked about Ackman's comments, "The situation is unchanged." The spokesman, Paul Fox, was also quoted as saying, "The board has made it clear that it supports Bob McDonald, the senior leadership team and our growth strategies. We are laser-focused on winning with our top 40 businesses, top 20 innovations and 10 developing markets while driving greater productivity and efficiency. Anything else is, frankly, an unnecessary distraction."

From this analyst's perspective, any shareholders who own $2 billion worth of a company should feel free to question the business policies and core competencies of the leadership of a publicly traded company. It's a great chance for PG's CEO and board to show what they're made of and not blow the challenge off as "...an unnecessary distraction."

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