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A Day In The Life

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Here’s another look at what we’re doing with Activist Strategy. This is an outtake of the daily email we send out. Interested in learning more – get a 7-day free trial here.

Activist news and updates for Mar. 14.

Stake changes

  1. Vivendi buys 149 million shares of Telecom Italia. Activist since June 2015. Now owns 24.9%. Has four seats on 17-member board of directors at Telecom Italia. Vivendi could seek new CEO.
  2. ValueAct sells 750,000 shares of Motorola. Takes stake down to 6%. Brad Singer of ValueAct to resign from board of directors at Motorola.
  3. Sagard buys 2 million shares of Performance Sports Group. Seeking board representation. Ownership at 13.6%.
  4. Carl Icahn reveals a 7.7% stake in Manitowoc Foodservice as a result of the spinoff from the Manitowoc crane business.
  5. Lone Star Value takes its stake in Digirad up by 10% – now owns 5.4% and has been activist since May 2014.
  6. Spear Point Capital nominates two members for the TheStreet board. They’ve been activist since June 2015 and owns right at 5%.
  7. Sachem Head Capital and Eminence Capital get three board seats at Autodesk – once of which is Sachem Head founder. They’ve been activist since Nov. and threatened a proxy battle. Collectively, they own over 10% of the co.


  1. Returns: Hedge fund manager Lansdowne Partners reports losses in 2016 after leading the industry in 2015. Short positions in commodities and mining stocks have had the greatest effect on returns and all of its funds are down for the year after posting gains in 2015.
  2. Returns: Glenview Capital Management down for the year with its flagship fund down 15%. Continues to see losses after a down year in 2015. His big bets on healthcare are working adjacent him after early success thanks to Obamacare.
  3. Returns: Perceptive Advisors, a leader in life sciences, is posting losses in 2016. Its Life Sciences Fund is down 17% after a 52% gain in 2015.
  4. Update: Spruce Point Capital Management’s Ben Axler is down on Planet Fitness and says the firm has unrealistic expectations. Spruce Capital Management is short Planet Fitness and reported on its research at the Harbor Investment Conference this week.
  5. Update: Hedge fund manager, Kyle Bass receives go ahead to challenge patents on Ampyra drug. Bass continues his activist strategy in the pharmaceutical business.
  6. Update: Court says hedge fund manager, David Ganek’s rights were violated after office search in 2010. The insider trading case will continue however the court’s ruling decreases some of the claims against Ganek.
  7. PICO issues leader to shareholders about Leder’s attempt to wage a proxy battle. The company has been facing pressure from multiple activists. Letter here (link)

Catalyst watchlist

  • Raven Industries a leading short sell case in the commodities sector. Geo Investing reports the stock’s earnings have much farther to fall.


  • Reuters says hedge funds are reducing bets against decreases in China’s currency. Trades that benefitted from devaluation of the currency were high leading up to the country’s currency policy changes however hedge funds are becoming more optimistic. (link)

Other good reads

  • In “The Case for Activist Investors” the Harvard Business Review reports on the influence of activists on management and stock prices. (link)
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that activists have had the greatest success in down markets over the years yet often struggle when markets gain. (link)
  • CNBC reports hedge funds are giving generously to election candidates. Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz are benefitting the most from hedge fund donations. (link)
  • Deep profile of Shari Redstone and her impending battle to takeover Viacom (link)


  • NEW Still a battle at PICO [link]
  • ICYMI PE based activist getting more involved at Mattress Firm [link]
  • ICYMI Sandell to make another run at Bob Evans [link]
  • ICYMI Latest deep dive on Voce’s target Air Methods [link]
  • ICYMI Sandell Gearing up for another Bob Evans board battle? [link]

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