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Activist Daily: Things Are A Changing

Activist disciple, we come bearing bad news. After much parleying we’re going dark (so to speak). We’ll be taking the free daily newsletter completely behind the Activist Strategy paywall sometime next week.

In doing away with managing free subscribers, we’re hoping to put all of our focus on Activist Strategy, as well as add more value to the Activist Strategy platform and its subs. We’ll be in touch over the next days to better define exactly what will become of the free daily newsletter. For now, the activist news and stories for June 27 is below.

News-

  • After the close yesterday, it was reported that Valeant Pharmaceuticals was working on a deal for Zoetis. Both of which are major Bill Ackman targets. That was rebuffed this morning, with Valeant denying any interest. Zoetis rolled off our catalyst worksheet yesterday and we no longer own it. That might change next week with the stock taking a hit today. Also rolling off the catalyst sheet was Darden and Cigna, with Humana likely to roll off next week.

  • Vertex Capital has a new target, going after Electro Scientific ($ESIO) - $170M market cap electronic component company, with a 6.1% stake. No plans yet. One of the many companies in the tech-related space Vertex is targeting of late.

  • HNA Investment Management took a 15% active stake in Red Lion Hotels ($RLH) - $150M hospitality company, for “...a strategic investment because the Issuer operates in segments complementary to the HNA Group’s hospitality business.”

  • Gamco took its active stake in Lennar ($LEN) from 5.7% to 6.35%.

  • Famous Dave’s gets more activist pressure. Earlier this week it was Wexford Capital going active with a 19% stake and now LionEye Capital has upped its activist stake to 14.9% from 12.8% [more to come on this via Activist Strategy]

  • Raging Capital takes its active stake in MRV Communications ($MRVC) from 21.7% to 30.6%. It’s owned around 20% for close to three years.

  • Trian Partners continues the planned sell of 20% of its Wendy’s ($WEN) stake, now owning 20.6%.

  • Rong Yao International has a 16.2% active stake in Sino-Global Shipping ($SINO) as partial consideration for a vessel Sino acquired from Ron Yao.

  • Cevian Capital has a 5.3% active stake in the $50 billion market cap power automation player ABB Ltd ($ABB) [more to come via Activist Strategy]

  • Martha Stewart Living ($MSO) is facing activist pressure to find a better buyout offer. Plymouth Lane Capital has a 10.9% active stake. Plymouth plans to help Martha Stewart with ensuring a “robust marketing process in order to obtain acquisition proposals during the go-shop period” [story to follow]

  • George Soros is trying to get the deadbeat oil and gas explorer Penn Virginia ($PVA) sold since the cratering of oil prices - where he owns 8% of the company. It has an investment bank “shopping” it. Rumors of BP as a potential buyer sent shares up 20% yesterday, but Penn Virginia denied this.

Stories-

  • Larry Robbins and his Glenview Capital balled out yesterday after the court ruling upholding Obamacare. Many of Glenview’s stocks soared [link]

  • Mary Jo White gave a speech yesterday noting, calling for companies to work out issues on their own before activists show up. One key, however, is to make proxy voting easier. White noted, If a company's or proponent's nominees gave their consent to appear on the other side's proxy card, then all shareholders would have the full range of voting options available to them” [link]

What we’ve been working on-

  • Part IV and final installment of an ode to Kirk Kerkorian [link]

  • A look at Pleasant Lake Capital [full paywall]

  • CONSAC digs in at MusclePharm after Wynnefield says it might go bankrupt [link]