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Daily Activist Investing May 29: Mario Gabelli, the sham

Activist followers, activist-related stories and news for May 28 set up below - as usual the free newsletter is on a 24-hour delay; Activist Strategy subs are the only ones getting it on publication day. Still taking leads at @activiststocks, daily newsletter sign up is here and check out past newsletters.

News-

  • Trian Fund continues its selloff of Legg Mason, taking its stake down to 9.96%.

  • Kevin Douglas took his stake from passive to active in EnteroMedics, owning 14.2%. The status change was so Kevin can interact with management [link]

  • We found out just how big of a win Clinton Group got at Imation - with dissent directors won more than 65% of the shareholder vote at Imation [link]

  • FrontFour Capital has gone active on Rock Energy, owning 14.48% [link]

  • Vector Capital is now active at eGain with a 9.97% stake [link]

Stories-

  • @StevenDavidoff at the NY Times rips into GAMCO’s Mario Gabelli. In essence, Mario is the new Biglari Holdings and Sardar Biglari. Steve’s piece takes issue with a number of Gabelli’s practices, the idea being that as an “activist” investor he’s not practicing what he’s preaching. Of note, "That would be acceptable, and perhaps even laudable, except that Gamco’s own corporate governance is on par with that of a Roman emperor, giving all the power to Mr. Gabelli, who wields it with impunity for his personal benefit,” with pay and corporate governance issues running rampant at GAMCO [link]


  • Bloomberg’s @Hugh_Son covers Jamie Dimon’s comments about not following proxy advisors. His quote from Dimon “God knows how any of you can place your vote based on ISS or Glass Lewis...If you do that, you are just irresponsible, I’m sorry. And you probably aren’t a very good investor, either.” It’s worth noting that proxy advisors had recommended against this latest pay package, so an axe to grind? [link]

  • @MJonesValueWalk at Valuewalk talks about a new metric for finding activist targets - shareholder sentiment. Key takeaway, The firm reports that 66% of the companies with over 10% of the votes being against or withheld on compensation resolutions became activist targets, while 65% of the companies saw the same opposition levels to one or more directors [link]