The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) shares jumped after the Federal Trade Commission approved of an investment by William Ackman’s Pershing Capital Management LP. By midday (Eastern Time) on Thursday, P&G’s stock rose 4.5 percent to $64.18 per share. It was the highest gain for the company since October 2009. The shares closed slightly lower at $63.70 a share, up 3.75%.
The FTC did not reveal any details of the transaction. Based on U.S. laws, any transaction exceeding $68.2 million requires evaluation and approval from regulators.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Paul Fox, spokesperson of P&G said that the company welcomes Ackman’s investment. According to him, the consumer products giant is focused on creating shareholder value. He said that the company plans to deliver top and bottom line growth through its $10 billion cost savings program. P&G will also concentrate in innovation, pricing initiatives, improved execution and reallocation of resources to invest in new opportunities.
Analysts suggest that Ackman may press for changes in P&G to enhance its shareholders value. Louis Meyer, a special- situations analyst at Oscar Gruss & Son Inc. shared his insights regarding Ackman’s investment with P&G in an interview with Bloomberg. According to him, the hedge fund manager and activist investor bought a stake in P&G because he saw that the company has “several business units that could possibly be spun off.”
Ali Dibadj, an analyst from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said last month that P&G needs to consider a break-up if the company’s earnings do not improve this year. According to him, based on the 2013 earnings estimates, P&G market value in a break up will be around $208 billion. That is a is higher premium to the current market value of $171 billion. Dibadj also said that the company has “appropriate strategy, but it hasn’t been successful.”
When Ackman invested in Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc (NYSE:FBHS), he pushed the company to split its three business units (alcoholic beverages, home security and golf division). Beam Inc. (NYSE:BEAM) was established as separate publicly traded company to carry its liquor products while its golf business unit was sold for $1.2 billion in 2011.
Just in, Bill Ackman was on CNBC for an interview with Squawk Box producer, Maneet Ahuja, author of The Alpha Masters, where Ackman is profiled in depth. Ackman told her, “P&G is the biggest company we’ve ever taken an active investment in.” It looks like he will be taking an activist stake. Ackman invested over $700 million in J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), based on the interview which just took place, Ackman might own a $1 billion stake in P&G.