Heinz yesterday (25 July) revealed that all shareholders, including those who hold shares through banks, brokers and financial institutions, will be able to vote via the Internet in the proxy battle between the company and dissident investors Nelson Peltz and the Trian Group.

Trian is attempting to get five of its nominees elected to Heinz’ 12-member board of directors. Trian has accused the food company of failing to increase profitability and return value to shareholders, charges that the company has vigorously refuted and countered.

Heinz had accused Trian of refusing to allow shareholders whose addresses are listed using a street name, primarily retail shareholders and those whose shares are held through a financial institution, to vote on the Internet or by phone.

ADP Proxy Services, the company overseeing the vote, had previously said that it was unwilling to amend Trian’s voting instruction form without consent from the faction. Yesterday ADP informed Heinz that it had made an adjustment to its system that enables Internet voting without requiring Trian’s consent, Heinz said.

“Heinz is gratified that ADP took swift and responsible action to ensure that tens of thousands of our street name shareholders can now exercise their right to vote via the Internet, despite Trian’s concerted effort to prevent such voting,” Michael Mullen director of global corporate affairs told just-food.

The issue of voting over the telephone has still not been resolved, the company said.