Now we know for sure who Dan Loeb‘s next target is. Rumors had been swirling around Baxter and Loeb’s Third Point for some time now, and today the rumors are officially confirmed.
Activist shareholder fund Third Point disclosed a 37,925,000 share, or 7% stake, in pharma firm Baxter on Wednesday, August 5th via a 13D filing with the SEC. According to a letter accompanying the filing, Third Point and its billionaire chief Dan Loeb are also looking for two board seats to help in the choice of a new CEO. The letter also noted that Baxter’s current staggered board is not shareholder friendly and archaic.
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Excerpt from Third Point letter to Baxter
With dozens of successful campaigns under his belt, Third Point’s Loeb is no stranger to controversy or the art of the polite insult. With wins at Sony, Fanuc, Sotheby’s and others, Loeb is almost formulaic in his approach to his targets for activism. He buys up a big chunk of stock, in this case he controls almost 10% of Baxter’s outstanding shares among his various funds if you count options, then puts on a full court press to see his agenda prioritized. Loeb also typically tries to nail down at least two board seats for his representatives.
The except below from his August 5th letter to Baxter provides some insight into his methods:
“However, we are most impressed by your willingness to consider new Directors for the Board to compliment the new CEO. Given Third Point’s significant economic exposure – worth over $2 billion – we discussed nominating our representatives for two Board seats. We have an excellent track record of participating on corporate boards and on CEO search committees in particular, as demonstrated by our role in hiring several stellar, high-performing CEOs. We are well-positioned to help select a new CEO, drive strategy, and provide a thoughtful perspective on capital allocation.”
“We will also bring our significant experience in implementing best practices of corporate governance to this Board. The Company’s staggered Board – exacerbated by an odd voting structure that values shareholders individually rather than according to economic interest – is shareholder unfriendly and archaic. We believe most shareholders agree with our views and as it turns out, so do you. We are confident that by working together, we will ensure shareholders can elect all directors at the 2016 annual meeting, including our representatives.”