Proxy Battle Between Singer's Elliott Management and Arconic Heats Up

Feb 7 2017 | 9:47pm ET

By Michael Flaherty (Reuters) - Arconic raised questions on Tuesday about the analysis behind Elliott Management's proxy campaign, further escalating the battle between the specialty metals maker and its largest shareholder.

Arconic said in a press release that Elliott has posted five different versions of the presentation it originally disclosed on Jan. 31, the day it launched its proxy fight against the company by nominating five directors for its board.

The presentation, titled "New Leadership Is Needed At Arconic," is part of the largest proxy fight of the year so far. It pits Arconic, a $10 billion maker of high-end aluminum and titanium alloys, against the world's largest activist investor, with more than $30 billion in assets.

Arconic separated from aluminum producer Alcoa Corp. last November, in a move led by Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa's CEO since 2008 who became Arconic's chief executive after the split.

Arconic cited several changes that Elliott has made to the presentation.

For instance, the company said, the hedge fund significantly cut the magnitude of its projected share price appreciation from potential cost savings in the company’s global rolled products (GRP) business.

The original slide No. 8 says global rolled products could save up to $750 million, which would translate into a $13.50 per share margin improvement for that business line.

An updated version of the presentation, posted on Elliott's Arconic campaign website revises the figure down to $245 million, or $4.41 per share. Elliott lowered the figure to reflect the midpoint of the industry average and a top performer in the sector.

The updated presentation was filed to the SEC on Monday.

The revision "calls into question Elliott’s grasp of Arconic’s business and industry," the company said in a statement.

Elliott responded that the only changes Arconic’s shareholders care about are the company's own downward revisions that led it to miss 2016 earnings guidance for its business units.

"We have been completely transparent about our work, including updates which show that the upside to Arconic’s stock is significant even under a highly conservative set of assumptions," an Elliott spokesman said in an emailed statement.

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