The latest move in a proxy battle between Target management and hedge fund investor Pershing Square Capital has seen the US retailer resist calls for a single ballot to elect board members. 

Perishing Square is controlled by activist investor Bill Ackman. The fund has nominated Ackman, along with four other representatives, to join Target’s board.

Pershing Square argued that moving to one ballot would benefit shareholders who want to vote for candidates nominated by both Pershing and Target.

However, Target said that it would proceed with its plan to offer two ballots: one listing the company’s candidates and another listing Perishing Square’s candidates.

The company insisted that the two ballot system was in keeping with SEC practices and that any change could result in confusion among its shareholders.

“Any such proposal should be allowed to proceed on an appropriate timetable allowing for careful review and consideration by the SEC. In the meantime, the current proxy rules provide a framework for the conduct of the proxy voting process that is perfectly adequate for resolving the issues that Pershing Square is raising,” the company said in a statement today (21 April).  

Ackman has pushed for Target to reorganise its property portfolio and boost shareholder returns. Meanwhile, for its part, Target has accused Perishing Square of being “too risky” and focused on short-term gains at the expense of long-term profitability.