Activist trend follower, a decent day for a Wednesday. Top activist investing news and stories for April 15 below. Tip us off at @activiststocks, get on our daily activist newsletter, and ICYMI the latest newsletter is here.

News:

  • Starboard Value has upped its stake in Integrated Silicon Solutions by 30%, now owning 9.9% of the company. The stock makes up a small, 1.1%, part of Starboard’s portfolio. Shares are up 26% since the fund went active in November. The argument is that the company has been been blowing money on poor acquisitions and fruitless R&D.

Activist

  • BlackRock’s Larry Fink has penned a letter to the CEOs of the S&P 500 with some thoughts on protecting against activist investors. In it, Fink writes, “…corporate leaders’ duty of care and loyalty is not to every investor or trader who owns their companies’ shares at any moment in time, but to the company and its long-term owners. Successfully fulfilling that duty requires that corporate leaders engage with a company’s long-term providers of capital; that they resist the pressure of short-term shareholders to extract value…” [link to letter]
  • Farallon Capital cut its Hudson Pacific by more than 50%. It’s been an owner of the REIT for half a decade.
  • Lone Star Value has sent a letter to Dakota Plains as a follow up to its December one calling for a sale of the company. Lone Star notes that the company is doing the exact opposite of what its previous agreement to explore strategic alternatives.
  • The BNY Mellon annual meeting was yesterday. At it, the Trian Partners board representative said that the board supports CEO Hassell. Last week, Marcato posted a presentation about BNY Mellon’s bloated workforce [link to presentation]

Stories:

  • @StevenDavidoff pens a piece via DealBook surrounding the board room that Elaine Wynn is waging. Of note, the uproar she’s causing is just overshadowing management’s incompetence. Key takeaway, “…shareholders should focus on more important questions, like whether Mr. Wynn is the right person for this company” [link]
  • @CGasparino puts up a piece on Fox detailing the “cat fight” between Nelson Peltz and Jeff Sonnenfeld. Sonnenfeld’s biggest gripe is over Peltz’s involvement with DuPont. Recall, Jeff says that Trian generated an 8.8% return last year, versus an S&P 500 return of 13.7%. Jeff notes, “Investing in index funds would have yielded better returns over the past few years than most activist funds.” But he really doesn’t provide any convincing evidence. Jeff is adamantly defending DuPont CEO, Ellen Kullman, and has done so in past pieces. Now this comes after Sonnenfeld gave Kullman his Yale CEO Summit Legend in Leadership Award for 2013. Naturally, he has to stand behind her  [link]