Hedge Fund Carlson Capital Goes Activist on Portec Rail Products

Dec.16.10 | About: PORTEC RAIL (PRPX)
Hedge fund Carlson Capital has gone activist on Portec Rail Products (PRPX) via a 13D just filed with the SEC. Carlson has disclosed a 5.2% ownership stake in PRPX with 503,674 shares. This is not a new position for the hedge fund, as it previously owned 403,949 shares as of the end of the third quarter. As such, Carlson has recently purchased 99,725 additional shares of Portec Rail Products. In recent months, Carlson has gone activist on Phoenix Technologies (PTEC) amidst takeover bids as well.
As detailed in Carlson's 13D filing, here's a timetable of events that have taken place regarding PRPX shares:
  • February 16, 2010: L.B. Foster (NASDAQ:FSTR) commenced a tender offer to purchase all PRPX shares at a price of $11.80 per share with the offer expiring on December 15th.
  • August 24, 2010: Sentinel Capital Partners expressed interest in acquiring all of PRPX shares at a price of $11.75.
  • December 7, 2010: Sentinel again expresses interest in acquiring all shares, but this time with an increased offer of $13.00 per share.
  • December 15, 2010: Per a PR release, "The tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Portec expired at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on December 15, 2010. As of that time, the depositary for the offer advised that approximately 7.63 million shares, representing approximately 79.46% of Portec's outstanding shares, were validly tendered and not withdrawn in the offer."
  • And late yesterday afternoon (December 15), Carlson Capital filed its 13D on PRPX and acquired the shares "pursuant to investment strategies, including merger arbitrage and event driven strategies, because they believed that Shares reported herein, when purchased, represented an attractive investment opportunity."
Will Carlson Capital's new activist push shake things up? While Portec Rail Products received offers at $11.80 and then $13.00, shares currently trade around $11.90. It remains to be seen as to whether or not Carlson will push for the higher $13 per share offer, so we'll watch this one as it develops. In the meantime, you can also check on Carlson's other activist investments, including Hot Topic (NASDAQ:HOTT) and Phoenix Technologies (PTEC).

Per Google Finance, Portec Rail Products "manufactures, supplies and distributes a range of rail products, including rail joints, rail anchors, rail spikes, railway friction management products and systems, railway wayside data collection and data management systems, and freight car securement systems."

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