Activist mavens,

Heavy blend of news and stories today. The usual — send us tips via Twitter at @activiststocks or email, and signup for our daily newsletter.

Activism News:

  • Pershing Square has upped its stake in Valeant Pharma to 19.47M shares, owning right at 5.7% of the private-equity-esque pharma company .
  • Loews adds about a percent to its Diamond Offshore stake, now owning 72.88M shares, or 53.15% of the driller. Over the last five months it’s bought 2.78M shares, meanwhile, the stock has fallen 38% over the same period.
  • Steel Partners continues its Nathan’s Famous selloff, now down to 235K shares from its long-time 445K stake.
  • 40 North sold about 8% of its Mattress Firm stake — still owns 6.77%. 40 North went active back in August 2013 and has been selling down its position of late.
  • Farallon Capital, PW Partners and HG Vora have settled with Town Sports, expanding its board from seven to eight members and adding two of Farallon’s nominees and three HG/PW nominees. Any questions on Town Sports, we’ll defer to long time bear, @The_Analyst. Per JT, “So HG Vora, PW Partners, and Farallon now control majority of $CLUB board. Membership growth offset lower per member revs? Not LT imo…”
  • Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners filed a proxy statement to elect four nominees to the DuPont board, included among them was Peltz himself.

Activism Stories:

  • @DaveCBenoit provides a decent look into 3G’s mentality over cost cuts. The premise, called zero-based budgeting, “The process involves forcing managers every year to start at zero and explain each and every cost they need, as opposed to merely adding on the prior year’s budget.” The notion of zero-based budgeting has been inserted into activists’ playbooks. Examples: Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners wants DuPont to adopt such a model and he’s already got Mondelez to implement the process. Bill Ackman’s [who’s a private investor in 3G] Pershing Square tried forcing the model on Valeant Pharma last year [link]
  • @WhitneyTilson is out with his second Lumber Liquidators article of the week. On the investigation and yesterday’s conference call with CPSC, Tilson notes, “The Consumer Product Safety Commission, coordinating with five other federal agencies, is investigating Lumber Liquidators…I couldn’t be more pleased with the call, both in what Chairman Kaye said as well as his general attitude and demeanor.” The people demand to be entertained. That is why we are here, afterall — read: F$*# the LPs, forget ethics, what’s morality? What we need is a level-headed discussion of the long and short side. How do we cut through the noise and evil sensationalism? [link to Whit Til’s piece]
  • @Benzinga is making William Macy proud with its shameless touting of activist “targets.” This time it’s Google. Granted, they are in the business of getting clicks — and this novel idea isn’t their own, rather we have ole @timseymour to thank [link]
  • @activistinvestr works up a piece on forced retirement from boards. Key takeaway, “Only 16 companies in the S&P 500 impose some sort of limit, ranging from 10-20 years…On the one hand, we dislike that a capable, diligent director that serves investors well would need to leave a BoD just because of age or length of service” [link]
Activism: Google; Nathan's, Valeant, DuPont, Diamond Offshore
Source: Pixabay