Five Activist Hedge Fund Battles To Watch In 2015

Jan 20 2015 | 6:22am ET

Nelson Peltz vs. DuPont Company (NYSE: DD)

It takes a lot of confidence to take on one of the nation’s oldest corporations and challenge its board of directors for a seat at their table.

But many investors haven’t heard of Nelson Peltz, founder of New York-based hedge fund Trian Fund Management. L.P. Peltz began building a stake in DuPont in August 2013 and called for the company to begin spinning off assets. But this week was the start of something bigger.

Last Thursday, Peltz’s unit launched a proxy fight against U.S. conglomerate the DuPont Company, announcing intentions to breakup the company and boost share value. During the company’s annual meeting, Peltz also nominated four new candidates to sit on the company’s board of directors.

Peltz is calling for DuPont to break up into two distinct companies.  The first would focus on higher-growth opportunities in agriculture, nutrition, health, and industrial bioscience. The second firm would have a cyclical focus in performance materials, safety and protection products, and electronics and communications materials.

Peltz argues that his plan would fuel a stock double. But some defenders of DuPont argue that the math just doesn’t add up. One thing is for sure… this battle will heat up in the New Year.

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