Bill Ackman suffers a big blow in his effort to shake up ADP

bill ackmanWilliam Ackman, founder and CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks to the audience in New York, July 22, 2014.REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

ADP shareholders voted against adding three directors to its board including Bill Ackman, handing a loss to the activist investor after a three-month long campaign.

The billionaire founder of the hedge fund Pershing Square has engaged in a bitter proxy battle with the HR-software provider, calling for sweeping changes including the replacement of CEO Carlos Rodriguez. Ackman's nominees were supported by less than 20% of ADP's shareholders, the company said.

Ackman, whose hedge fund disclosed an 8% stake in the $49 billion company in August, said the company's margins were "vastly below" what they could be. He said ADP's stock price could double in five years without the company needing to change its dividend or capital structure.

ADP shares were down by less than 1% in premarket trading on Tuesday.

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