Pitney Bowes Sells Services Unit to Apollo

Pitney Bowes Sells Services Unit to Apollo

Marc Lautenbach, president and CEO of Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) urged hedge funds and other investors not to short the stock by presenting a bullish case for the company during the ideas dinner hosted by OTR Global, an independent research firm on Monday night, according to report from CNBC.

Pitney Bowes Sells Services Unit to Apollo

Pitney Bowes’s shares being short

A number of hedge funds and other investors have been shorting the shares of Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) this year. One of the hedge fund managers who shorted the shares of the company was David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital. In his quarterly letter early this year, Einhorn described Pitney Bowes as a “melting ice cube” due to the secular declining U.S. mail volumes. Einhorn said his firm had a nice gain from its short position in the company.

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In an e-mail statement to CNBC, Alex Borg of Markit, a financial services company that tracks daily short interest in stock, noted that many investors are betting against Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI). He said, “Demand to borrow the stock remains high when compared to the average across the S&P 500 of just over 2 percent. Short sellers have dramatically covered positions as the share price trades close to annual highs. The percentage of shares on loan has reduced from over 25 percent at the end of July to 15.5 percent today.”

Lautenbach discusses new strategy

During the ideas dinner, Lautenbach discussed the new strategy of Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) to investors under its new program, “Unlocking Value:The Transformation of Pitney Bowes.” He pointed out that the company would be able to boost its margins over the next few years by cutting its administrative, general and selling expenses. He also emphasized that the business is growing with its existing clients such as Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY).  Both companies are using its software for online client purchases.

Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) named Lautenbach as CEO in December 3. Back then, the stock price of the company was trading around $11.60 a share. Under his leadership, the stock rose by 78 percent this year. The stock is trading around $19.05 per share at the time of this writing (mid afternoon) in New York on Wednesday.

Sale of management services business unit

The company recently completed the sale of its management services business unit to funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE:APO) for $400 million in cash. Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) plans to use the proceeds of the transaction to pay its debt.

According to the company, the affiliates of Apollo Global Management will operate the Pitney Bowes Management Services as a standalone company under a new name. Selling the business enables Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) to concentrate its attention and resources in developing and delivering innovative software, and differentiated services in high value segments of the market, wherein it has a distinctive advantage.

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