Activist Daily: Wolkpacking it

Activist rubberneck, so-so Wednesday. Activist investing news and stories for June 17 below - you should know by now that the free newsletter is on a 24-hour delay. Subscribe to Activist Strategy to get it on publication day or request a two-week free trial here. As usual, check out the tweets on @activiststocks to stay in the know and get on the free daily newsletter list.

News-

  • Kirk Kerkorian passed away on Monday night. He was one of the first true activist investors and is perhaps best known for his multiple battles with MGM. He still owned 16.2% of the casino at the time of his passing and per his will, his trust will be liquidating those shares. However, Kerkorian’s company Tracinda did say that it thinks MGM represents a solid long-term investment [story to follow]

  • Net-net Eddie Lampert sold off a small part of its Sears Holdings stock and its Lands’ End shares - still owns 55.2% of Sears and 47.8% of Lands’ End.

  • Samsung C&T has Goldman Sachs in its corner in its battle versus Elliott Associates. But if we know anything, based on his intense battle with Argentina, is that Paul Singer doesn’t scare easily.

  • Marathon Partners takes its stake in Shutterfly to below 5% - it now owns 4.5% versus the 5.4% from last month. This comes as Marathon closed out some options given its proxy win.

  • Lloyd Miller continues his years long battle with Selectica, upping his stake 10% to 34.9% of the company.  

  • It’s been reported that Carlyle and Blackstone are teaming up to take the Marcato Capital activist target NCR private in a $10 billion deal. Shares were up 10%. Of note, Spruce Point Capital is short and put out a short report in April.

Stories-

  • The National Law Review has a piece on wolfpack activism. A little technical around filing dates and trading volume, but of interest,  “a number of activists chose to wait to file a 13-D even though they only accumulated less than 5.9% of the target’s shares outstanding. For example, there were ten instances where activists took at least 8 days to file a 13-D but reported a position of less than 5.9%, while during the waiting period, the abnormal trading volume was more than 10% of the target’s shares outstanding. This pattern seems consistent with the notion that certain activists wait to file a 13-D in order to enable members of a wolf pack to accumulate large positions” [link]

  • Bloomberg has a piece on why Japan will still need a gentle touch - forceful activism won’t work. There’s a delicate balance of power within corporations. Takeaway - “While Japan’s new attitude to corporate governance borrows from the activist playbook, that doesn’t mean the country is any less averse to aggressive demands for change” [link]

What we’ve been working on-

  • Jet Capital’s flawed SunCoke thesis [full paywall]

  • Upcoming spinoff with an activist involved [full paywall]

  • Activist target in retail [partial paywall]

  • Furmanite with an underrated activist and potential buyout [link]

  • Phil Falcone letter to MCG Capital [link]

  • Long-term activism can happen [link]

  • Bob Evans starts to cave to Sandell [link]

  • Sandon Capital thesis and presentation on BlueScope Steel [link]

  • More activism to come in software and we mean big software [complete paywall]