The war of words between Automatic Data Processing Inc. and activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman continued Thursday, as ADP weighed in on a presentation made by Ackman earlier in the day. The company said it "strongly disagrees" with Ackman's assertions, which it said show a lack of understanding of the company and its strategy. Ackman said the value of ADP's stock could more than double by 2021 "with "no changes in the credit rating, capital structure, dividend policy, or clients funds investment strategy." Pershing said ADP's "buy" instead of "build" strategy has led to weak product offerings, most notably in enterprise, and inefficient legacy back-end infrastructure. "ADP's focus on 'hitting the numbers' has led to value-destructive decisions with negative long-term consequences," Pershing wrote in the presentation. Ackman is seeking five board seats and is urging a change of CEO. "ADP is not resting on its laurels. Our board and management team are thoughtfully transforming our organization and culture to compete effectively and drive global growth in the evolving Human Capital Management market," the company said. ADP shares fell 5%, but are up just 3.6% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 9%.
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