MIG Capital Plans To Put CEO Merage On Groupon’s Board

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U.S.-based shopping deals provider Groupon was faced with another activist investor this week when MIG Capital, an investment firm with $1 billion in assets led by Richard Merage, proposed Merage as a director for election at the company’s 2020 annual meeting. A Monday regulatory filing revealed that MIG owns 5% of the stock.

The filing also noted that while MIG does not have any current plans for the company, the investor may engage with management and the board regarding the business, operations, and future plans.

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Q3 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The engagement comes just months after Chapman Capital said it was reaching out to dissatisfied shareholders to seek support in persuading the management to enter into a strategic partnership or conduct a buyback for $100 million worth of shares. Krupa Global Investments, a Prague, Czechia-based former investor, came out in support of Chapman’s ideas at the time.

In late September, Groupon was reportedly on the lookout for deals in an effort to fend off activist shareholders, potentially eyeing a merger with Yelp.

Neither Groupon nor MIG immediately responded to a request for comment from Activist Insight Online.

Elsewhere in activist news:

Hudson Executive Capital launched a website in support of its campaign at cashless payments specialist USA Technologies, calling on fellow stockholders to back its eight-person slate and "send a clear message" to the board that change is needed.

Elliott Management decreased its stake in German classifieds provider Scout24, taking some money off the table as the stock has appreciated on the prospect of a spinoff, after the company said it is in "advanced negotiations" to sell its auto unit, AutoScout24, Elliott’s key demand.

Another Elliott target, Hyundai Mobis, announced plans to select an outside director tasked with protecting shareholders’ rights and interests, two months after the auto parts maker pledged to improve corporate governance practices amid pressure from the activist investor.

Eyewear group EssilorLuxottica, which has Dan Loeb’s Third Point Partners on its shareholder register, unveiled "fraudulent financial activities" at one of its plants in Thailand, estimating an impact to its 2019 results of up to 190 million euros ($213 million).
Nestlé announced the completion of the 20 billion Swiss francs share buyback plan initiated two years ago and restated its pledge for another similar program, to be launched today and ended by December 31, 2022.

MIG Capital and beyond

German lender Commerzbank reached an agreement with Petrus Advisers to buy its large stake in listed subsidiary comdirect, allowing Commerzbank to reach the 90% ownership threshold, and paving the way for a squeeze-out of the remaining shares.

Alpha Holdings reiterated its willingness to go through with its own funding plan for OncoSec Medical, urging the firm’s shareholders to reject the rival proposal put forward by China Grand.

Viex Capital Advisors nominated five directors for election to the board of Immersion, stepping up its efforts to refresh the board after a withhold campaign in June failed to remove any directors.

Paper manufacturer Verso urged shareholders to re-elect its seven director candidates and warned against the "self-serving" proxy contest launched by Atlas Holdings and Blue Wolf Capital Partners.

Online education company Creative Learning has dismissed the consent solicitation launched last month by shareholders Christopher Rego and Rod Whiton, although the sides might be close to a settlement.

Herbert Management restated its long-term goal of creating value for all shareholders of Enzo Biochem and defended the track record and experience of its two board nominees.

As always, Activist Insight Online reporters will be diligently covering all developments in activism around the world, and highlighting the most remarkable stories in this roundup. If you have suggestions for improving our coverage, or a tip, you can contact us at [email protected].

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