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Daily Activist Investing May 6: The Marty Lipton Effect

Activist chauvinists, another light day; news and stories below for May 6. Hit us with leads at @activiststocks, daily newsletter signup, ICYMI the latest newsletter is here.

News-

  • LionEye Capital ups its Ashbury Auto stake by 25%, now owning 8.6% of the company. It’s still the fund’s largest holding (about 18% of its pro forma portfolio) and shares are up 25% since LionEye went active in Sept.

  • Trian Partners has a new letter out to DuPont shareholders. It’s verbose, key takeaway, “The Trian portfolio companies at which Nelson Peltz has previously served on the board have OUTPERFORMED the S&P 500 Index by an average of 8.4% annually from the date of Trian’s initial investment through the present” [link to letter]

  • L&B has put out a video on MGM. Most notably, “The Company has underperformed its peer group by 453% since Jim Murren became Chairman and CEO in 2008.” Still hard to see how complex financial engineering with a REIT gets that done. Vegas has fundamentally changed and Macau troubles will continue  [link to overview/video]

  • Cove Street went active on Comverse, tripling its stake from the end of 2014 and now owning 7.1% of the $540M market cap IT company [link]

Stories-

  • @Dealpolitik has a piece at WSJ on how activism is reshaping director roles. Key note, before activism “...I think it would have been rare, if not unheard of, for a nominating committee to recruit a director based on his or her ideas on how to best change the company. Directors were largely in place to either support management or replace it, as well as to provide input on corporate strategy” [link]