Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management LP revealed that it held 9.33 million shares of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) yesterday, and analysts are happy to have him on the scene, pointing to his successful activism at State Street Corp (NYSE:STT) as proof that he can help BK streamline its business.
UBS has been calling for activist involvement for months
“In our March 10th report on the trust banks, we highlighted Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) as a potential target for an activist investor, in a section titled ‘Paging Mr. Icahn (sorry, we got the activist wrong),” writes UBS analyst Brennan Hawken. “We believe recent efforts such as consolidating NYC office space, rolling out an additional $100 million in personnel savings, and considering asset sales are reflective of a more active approach that could become thematic for BK.”
Some analysts happy about Peltz’s involvement with BK
RBC Capital Markets analyst Gerard Cassidy was similarly happy about Peltz’s involvement, pointing out that after Trian took a position in State Street Corp (NYSE:STT) it cut back on expenses and prioritized shareholder value creation, doubling its stock price in two years before Trian sold its stake. Hawken raised his price target for Buy-rated The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) from $38 to $42, and while Cassidy didn’t specify a price target it’s clear that he thinks this is good for investors.
Some reorganization was already built into BK price targets
If Hawken’s PT increase seems minor, it’s because The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) has already started reorganizing. Just last week the bank announced that it was streamlining senior management (letting three senior executives go) and consolidating Investor Services, which had been led by CEO Tim Keaney and president Brian Shea but will now be led solely by Shea. JP Morgan analyst Vivek Juneja pointed out that “Brian’s background in the business is on the Tech and Operations side which is critical for cost efficiencies given the pricing pressures in the business.”
These changes had already gotten Hawken’s attention, and it’s possible that they may have gotten Peltz’s attention as well. Activists sometimes have a reputation for battling management, but Peltz may have simply seen The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) management moving in the right direction and decided that he could help them streamline their business to their mutual benefit.