Shares of Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) took a hit on Wednesday, falling as much as 6.3%. By the end of the trading day, shares were down 5.4%.
The stock's decline comes amid a public battle between Campbell Soup's board and activist investor Daniel Loeb, who runs the hedge fund Third Point LLC.
Loeb, who is backed by George Strawbridge Jr. -- grandson of inventor of condensed soup John Dorrance -- is trying to replace Campbell's board of directors with new members at a Nov. 29 shareholder meeting.
But Loeb and Strawbridge, who together have nearly a 10% stake in the company, faced a setback on Wednesday when Campbell released a press release saying descendants Bennett Dorrance, Mary Alice Dorrance Malone, Archbold van Beuren, and Charlotte Weber, as well as "certain of their family members [who] collectively represent approximately 41 percent of the company's shares outstanding," intend to vote in favor of keeping the current Campbell board of directors.
"It is hardly news that the entrenched family owners, who have long enriched themselves at the expense of shareholders and the company, seek to preserve their board seats and reign of error," said Third Point LLC in a statement (via Bloomberg).
In Campbell's Oct. 17 press release, the company said it "strongly recommends shareholders vote to support the current Campbell Board of Directors..."
Loeb is pushing for Campbell to consider selling itself to another company. Without a new board of directors, some investors who were hoping for such an outcome may be disappointed, as the chances of this happening may be lower with the current board.