Some notable activist investing news and reads for the weekend.
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The activist target Yahoo (Starboard Value) and potential target Twitter (speculated from anyone from Carl Icahn to Dan Loeb) could merge
Twitter was looking to buy Yahoo!? WTF is right. Twitter needs to stop messing around and buy Snapchat, but that’s a story for another time. @jack and Twitter met with @marissamayer and Yahoo to discuss a merger.
Luckily, @jack was just doing it to pump @marissamayer for info. The two spend hours looking at Yahoo financials. Granted, Yahoo still gets a lot of views and eyeballs, which is the name of the game on the web. However, Twitter needs more than just views, the need to give users a reason to signup and make it sticky. Regardless, Yahoo needs to get sold and Jeff Smith at Starboard Value knows it. It looks as if Verizon is there best bet or a Warren Buffett-backed bid with Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert.
More Sumner Redstone saga
Shari Redstone is breathing fire these days. Once, estranged, she’s got back in the good graces of her father Sumner Redstone and looks to be running the show. This includes being able to get her hands on the 80% of Viacom and CBS that Sumner owns.
Viacom is more interesting of the two, however, as Sumner recently threw Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman out of his trust that controls that 80% ownership. Shari, meanwhile, is revving up Viacom shareholders to get new management inserted at the company. If she can succeed, where it looks like the odds are in her favor, Viacom could get interesting.
Intel needs an activist investor
Intel is said to be a mess, here are some of the highlights that an activist should/could fix. To start, it’s poorly managed. The company keeps shooting itself in the foot with quality issues and efficiency crises. Intel’s big ideas continue to be blunders, which include the push into mobile phones, Wimax, tablet subsidies and consumer products. Lest we forget that Altera buyout blunder. And shareholder returns get squandered with ill-timed buybacks and paying, seemingly, large unnecessary fines.
Activist returns are mixed
Barry Rosenstein’s Jana Partners was up 2.4% in May and is now down 4.7% on the year. Meanwhile, Dan Loeb’s Third Point was up 1.7% last month, now up 1.5% in 2016. Mick McGuire, the Bill Ackman protege, was up 1.2% in May and is down 8.7% year-to-date. For May, David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital fell 1.9%, yet he’s still up 1.1% on the year. The HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index was up 0.5% in May and is down 1% in 2016.