Business

Activist Stocks: Biglari Holdings, EMC, DuPont, iRobot

Activist patrons, the force is strong today. No time for small talk. Of note, we’ll save the stories for tomorrow, today there’s a special feature. Don’t forget – send tips to @activiststocks, sign up for our daily newsletter, and ICYMI the latest newsletter is here.

News:

  • There’s rumors that Starboard Value might join Elliott Management at EMC. Paul Singer and Elliott had been trying to get EMC to spinoff VMware, but the two entered a truce earlier this year. With some of Starboard’s activist targets on autopilot and booking a recent win at Insperity, the activist could well be on the prowl.
  • Trian Partners’ Nelson Peltz has come out and said that DuPont could be worth as much as $120/share by the end of 2017. A roughly 70% cumulative return sounds pretty great. But for just a 20% annualized return, there’s still a lot of risk to Peltz’s plans. Hell, even Jeff Ubben doesn’t think he gets it done at DuPont.
  • Red Mountain went active on iRobot with a 5.1% stake. Of note, Red Mtn. plans to discuss getting iRobot to shut down its defense/security business.
  • Bear with me, as this is basically the Biglari show at this point…

Feature – Biglari | Groveland Capital:

  • The annual meeting is set to kick off in less than an hour. It’s a grand ole pissing contest, but still an underrated one. At this point, everyone is reduced to writing about it. Even @grovelandcap broke down and joined Twitter the other week and has since been spreading its message to all 8 of its followers.

Activist

  • Recall GAMCO sent yet another letter to Biglari earlier this week reiterating it wouldn’t support its board nominees if it voted the Lion Fund shares [link to news of the GAMCO letter]
  • The little-known fund, Farnam Street Investments (not to be confused with Shane’s popular Farnam Street Blog), has gotten in on the musings. With a small stake in the company, Farnam is attending today’s meeting. Essentially, Farnam admit to the various problems that Groveland Capital have highlighted, but at the end of the day they stand behind Sardar Biglari has CEO. Yes, there are a fair number of shareholders that do defend Sardar with a straight face. Farnam’s ultimate solution is for Biglari to “compromise” with Groveland and put two of its most “qualified” nominees on the board [link to Farnam’s recent piece on SeekingAlpha]
  • @DaveCBenoit over at the WSJ isn’t one to be left out of any high profile activist battle. Overview of the story, with the key takeaway being that Biglari has been battling back against Groveland by buying up stakes in the portfolio companies of Groveland. When Biglari started doing this, Groveland’s portfolio companies put poison pills in place. Dave doesn’t do the best of making that connection, but that tidbit could help make the last third of the article a bit more relevant [link to Dave’s food fight over Steak n Shake piece]
  • Not to be outdone, @stephengandel over at Fortune pens his own Biglari vs. Groveland piece this morning. Nice of the big guys to join us, better late than never. Good overview if you’ve been under a rock. Key takeaway is that Mario Gabelli of GAMCO still loves the food / business of Steak n Shake, but not the corporate governance [link to Fortune piece]
  • In truth, if you’ve been under a rock, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. This is an activist vs. activist battle being waged for some time [link to @stockpucker piece from Feb.] And the guys at @proxymosaic hosted a call with Groveland last week that had some Q&A. It’s pretty entertaining. When listening, the key to remember is that these guys won’t be running the company, but they at least have some solid director nominees [link to the conference call]

Activist Stocks: Biglari Holdings, EMC, DuPont, iRobot