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Here's What a Breakup of P&G Would Look Like

Activist Nelson Peltz likes to describe his investment fund, Trian, as a "constructivist" or "liquid private equity" firm.

The label suggests that his primary approach is collaborative and congenial. And it's true that his fund Trian Fund Management doesn't usually pick a serious public fight. Companies often privately agree to give Peltz a board seat. The insurgent manager has launched only three director-election battles since 2005, as part of 24 activist campaigns, according to FactSet.

On Monday, Peltz tried to keep within his constructivist manner as much as he could when he launched a director-election battle at Procter & Gamble (CO) seeking to install himself on the massive packaged goods company's board.

And as a sort of preemptive strike on critics who might argue he wants P&G to engage in a series of short-term moves typically sought out by activists, Peltz issued a laundry list of things he doesn't want to do.

For example, Peltz says he's not seeking to cut pension benefits, research & development or marketing expenses. Companies often argue that activists are trying to cut out R&D as part of their efforts to undercut activist investor insurgencies.

Nevertheless, it is still clear that the constructivist manager still is very much an activist. Peltz says he doesn't want to break up Procter & Gamble. One of his primary goals is to have the company eliminate what he has called its "suffocating bureaucracy." One way of accomplishing that would be to break the overly complicated business into smaller pieces.