Activist peeps, today is an utter cluster…Seems like once a week we get on one, that day is today this week. Activist investing news and stories for April 16 below. Tip us off at @activiststocks, get on our daily activist newsletter, and ICYMI the latest newsletter is here.

News:

  • Atlantic Investment Management dumps nearly half its Oil States stake. This takes its stake below 5% to 4.1%. Atlantic is down 6% on its stake since going active in early Dec.
  • Orange Capital joins Jon Litt’s Land & Buildings in an activist battle to try and urge corporate governance changes at the mall REIT Macerich. Recall that Macerich rejected a bid from Simon Properties that was 15% higher than where shares are today. Macerich rejected without any negotiations. More details to follow to those on our activist strategy email list (a pilot program for idea generation in activism – email us to get in on the free trial).
  • A vigilante group, calling themselves the “iPass Shareholders for Change,” has gone active on iPass, with a 7.7% stake. The consortium of shareholders is led by Maguire Asset Management with a 5% stake while other investors include the likes of Zuma Capital, Foxhill Capital and Francis Capital. They have nominated 5 members for the board [link to summary of their letter]
  • Starboard Value finally comes clean on its Yahoo – AOL merger idea. It had quietly backed away from the notion. The other day Jeff Smith noted, “So, merging with AOL still has strategic benefits and is still something that can work, but the idea of putting them together now probably makes more sense after the Alibaba spin happens. It’s not that it doesn’t make sense, it’s just that it doesn’t make as much sense right now.”
  • Knight Vinke is calling for UBS to “radically” shrink itself, specifically, spin-off or merging its investment bank.

Stories:

  • At our behest, the @joshkosman and the NY Post finally shine some light on Jeff Sonnenfeld’s “relationship” with DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman. Josh notes that being friends with Sonnenfeld has its benefits, a dig directly at his “closeness” with Kullman. Key takeaway, “…the professor backed DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman and bashed activist investor Nelson Peltz…Kullman received a Legend in Leadership award from Sonnenfeld in December 2013. None of the op-eds disclosed either the financial backing the companies supplied to the Sonnenfeld-led nonprofit or that CELI had honored their CEOs” [link]
  • Keeping with the Peltz-Sonnenfeld theme, @JeffSonnenfeld is out with another op-ed today with the WSJ. Jeff notes, “ Five out of 11 boards Trian has joined since Trian’s inception well underperformed the S&P 500 during the period of its service” [link]
  • There’s a flood of ejaculatory exuberance over the touting of Investors Bancorp by Cliff Robbins of Blue Harbour Group. You’ve got my grandmother falling all over herself because the adorable Clifford Robbins has gone “active” on Investors Bancorp. @ldelevingne over at CNBC notes, “Blue Harbour owns 7.8 percent of the stock, which is a new position and was publicly disclosed for the first time Monday” and a headline from @finalternatives is as follows, “Activist Blue Harbour Reveals Stake in Investors Bancorp. Due diligence, where art thou? It’s not that hard. This isn’t a new stake or anything new for the market. January headline from @stockpucker, “Blue Harbour is bringing sexy back at Investors Bancorp.” Blue Harbour has been active at Investors Bancorp since August and upped its stake in January. The fund is up just 12% on Investors Bancorp since going active on the name.

Activist Stocks: Oil States, Macerich, iPass, Yahoo-AOL