DuPont Sells Country Club Peltz Scorned as `Corporate Largesse'

(Bloomberg) -- DowDuPont Inc. finally landed buyers for its country club, several years after activist investor Nelson Peltz blasted the golf and tennis playground as a symbol of corporate excess.

The club became a flash point for Peltz’s Trian Fund Management in its failed 2015 proxy fight for seats on the board of DuPont, which subsequently merged with Dow Chemical. The club, a hotel and a theater in the hotel were “examples of corporate largesse,” with a questionable “strategic fit” to DuPont, Trian said in a 2014 letter to the board. The 98-year-old club is the last of the three properties to be sold.

DuPont Country Club, located in the Wilmington, Delaware, suburbs, offers three 18-hole golf courses, 25 tennis courts and two restaurants. The courts have hosted tennis champions Venus Williams, Billie Jean King and Margaret Osborne DuPont.

Ben DuPont, a managing partner at Chartline Capital Management LLC, and Don Wirth, a retired DuPont vice president, signed a binding letter of intent to purchase the club, the Wilmington-based company said Thursday by email. Terms weren’t disclosed. The pair, longtime club members, plan to invest $18 million in upgrades, including the addition of a swimming pool and gym, according to the company.

DuPont is fulfilling Peltz’s demand to slash costs and break up, albeit in roundabout fashion. The company in late 2015 agreed to merge with Dow Chemical, creating DowDuPont last year. The combined company is cutting $3.3 billion in costs and plans to split in three next year.

Peltz didn’t stick around to see his vision fulfilled. Trian sold its remaining DowDuPont stake in the fourth quarter.

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