NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Procter & Gamble rose about 3 percent on Thursday after the Federal Trade Commission gave clearance for activist investor William Ackman's Pershing Square to make an investment in the consumer products maker.
FTC clearance is necessary when an investor wants to take a major stake in a company. It was unclear how big a stake, if any, Pershing Square plans to take in P&G. The hedge fund declined to comment.
P&G spokesman Paul Fox said the Cincinnati company, the world's largest consumer products maker, welcomes investment but offered no specifics. He said in a statement that the maker of Tide laundry soap and Pampers diapers is focused on creating value for shareholders through its $10 billion cost savings program and developing new products.
Ackman is known for pushing for change after taking significant stakes in companies, including department store operator J.C. Penney Co., diversified products maker Fortune Brands, Kraft Foods Inc., now-defunct bookseller Borders Group Inc., discount retailer Target Corp. and others.
Procter & Gamble, meanwhile, is trying to reverse disappointing results as growth in the U.S. slows, weakness in Europe persists, China faces a slowdown and costs for commodities such as fuel and packaging remain high. The company lowered its guidance in June because of these factors.
In its most recent quarter, P&G posted a 16 percent drop in net income, while its overall market share slipped 0.2 points, including a decline of 0.6 points in North America. To improve results, P&G is focusing on its most profitable markets, such as the U.S., Mexico, Germany and Brazil. It's also scaling back on introducing new products in some emerging markets like China, rolling back some price increases and cutting costs.
Some analysts have criticized the company for being slow to react to disappointing results and not doing enough to drive sales.
Shares of P&G rose $2.44, or 4 percent, to $63.83 in afternoon trading. The stock ended Wednesday day down about 8 percent since the beginning of the year.