Activist corroborator, longest newsletter to date, which comes after most of the investing community was in a masturbatory frenzy over Jana Partners targeting ConAgra.

Activist investing news and stories for June 19 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-

  • After Corvex Management “bullied” ConAgra into the buyout of Ralcorp in 2013, Jana Partners is now getting involved with the food company. It owns 7.2% and cites gross underperformance since the Ralcorp buyout. Jana already has board nominees ready and is looking to wage a proxy battle if necessary []
  • In a morning risk report from the WSJ, Chevron’s counsel for corporate governance, Rick Hansen, laid out some guidelines for handling activism. It’s paywalled to WSJ subs, so I’ll give you the long form takeaway, Rick says that companies should do a “vulnerability assessment” to find red flags that might attract an activist, i.e. “identify areas of weakness and develop and enforce management’s story line around those weaknesses.” This could be a business segment needing to be spun off, history of poor performance or undervalued assets. Rick also notes, “I think a company like DuPont could fend off an activist because it had good relations with institutional investors” [link]
  • WSJ has a story on how the hedge fund push at Macy’s to get the retailer to spin off its real estate is a long-term negative. Of note, “A sale-leaseback is a nice headline and you can get a ton of value, but it doesn’t make sense for the long run, by locking themselves into long-term leases, they’d be stuck in B or C malls for the next 20 years” [link] We’ll have a follow-up story as well [here’s our initial thoughts from the other week]

What we’ve been working on-

  • The Jana thesis at ConAgra [full paywall]
  • Coverage of Blue Harbour and AGCO
  • Macy’s hedge fund talk
ConAgra
ConAgra