DuPont Co.'s army of retail shareholders proved decisive in the defeat of veteran activist investor Nelson Peltz's attempt to get on the board and split up the 212-year-old chemical company.

All DuPont's director nominees were elected, it said Wednesday at its annual meeting in Wilmington, Delaware. Peltz's Trian Fund Management, which had sought four board seats, said the vote was "close." The final count hasn't been disclosed. DuPont shares fell as much as 7.4 percent.

The outcome is a decisive victory for DuPont Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman following a five-month proxy fight. Both sides tried to muster votes via advertisements in local and national media. About one-third of DuPont shareholders are private individuals such as retired former employees, compared with about 10 percent at most other companies, the company said last month.

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