DuPont Brings Curtain Down on Theater Ownership

DuPont Co., the largest U.S. chemical producer by market value, is getting out of the entertainment business with an agreement to sell the DuPont Theater, a 1,250-seat auditorium criticized last year by an activist investor for symbolizing corporate excess.

The 102-year-old venue in the company’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, will be sold to The Grand, the operator of the city’s Grand Opera House. The theater will be renamed The Playhouse on Rodney Square, DuPont said today in a statement. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Trian Fund Management LP in September issued a report citing the theater -- and Hotel DuPont, within which the venue sits and where senior DuPont executives have offices -- as emblematic of why the company should be broken up. DuPont said last month it plans to move out of the hotel to a nearby suburban office park.

Trian, led by Nelson Peltz, says DuPont has $4 billion in excess corporate costs and should be split into two companies, and last week announced it was running four candidates for DuPont’s board. DuPont has rejected Trian’s arguments for a breakup and demands for board representation.

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