Proxy firm dismisses Ackman's advice for ADP shareholders

Automatic Data Processing Inc rejected as "false and misleading" on Tuesday the accusation by billionaire investor William Ackman that the company gave proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services non-publicly disclosed information.

In an 18-page letter sent Monday, Pershing Square's Ackman accused ISS of using "non-public, inaccurate and misleading information" it received from ADP to come to its conclusions.

Ackman hopes to win three seats on the board of the human resources outsourcing company in a vote next week. Two other proxy firms, Glass Lewis and Egan-Jones, endorsed Ackman's picks last week. The hedge fund owns some 8.3% of ADP's stock (worth around $4 billion) and ratcheted up its campaign since late summer.

He has since criticized the company for what he calls sluggish earnings and inefficient operations.

ADP has strenuously objected to Ackman's characterizations, saying many of his suggestions are already underway at the company and that company performance has been strong in both absolute and relative terms.

"We intend to be a major shareholder of ADP for a long time".

"Throughout this proxy contest, Pershing Square has continued to distort the facts and mislead the investing public", it said in the statement Wednesday. It continued to urge shareholders to support its candidates for the board.

The ADP board election is scheduled for November 7.

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