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This Week In Activism: ValueAct, Starboard And More


As always, we like to start out with the newest campaigns being waged.

  • The big news over the past couple weeks is that ValueAct Capital has gone active on Baker Hughes ($BHI). Signaling the fact that smart money might be flowing into the energy space. ValueAct owns 5.1% of BHI at a cost basis of just under $56/share. Recall that Halliburton ($HAL) is looking to buy BHI. ValueAct was an owner of HAL back in 2013. Further reading - Baker Hughes ($BHI): Activist Investor Enters The Oil Fray
  • LionEye Capital also went active at Famous Dave's ($DAVE), disclosing a 9.8% stake. LionEye's invested at an average cost of $29. DAVE has faced a number of activist through the years, including PW Capital, Blue Clay and Farnam Street in 2013. Further reading - Famous Dave's: Just The Latest Restaurant To Attract An Activist Investor
  • Starboard Value has started a new campaign over at Insperity ($NSP). The fund owns 13.2% of the company and thinks it can improve margins by selling two private jets. Further reading - Activist Investor Tees Up Insperity ($NSP) For A Buyout
  • Accretive Capital went activist on MCG Capital ($MCGC), taking a 5.1% stake.
  • Maguire Asset has gone activist on Novatel Wireless ($MIFI), with a 5.5% stake. It thinks the stock should trade at $10.70/share. Maguire's cost basis is $1.90.

Upping their stakes

  • Altai Capital upped its activist stake in E2Open ($EOPN) to 9.5%, from its previous 5.9%.
  • Oaktree Capital upped its stake in Star Bulk Carriers (NASDAQ:SBLK) to 51.9% of the company.
  • Gamco Investors added a little to its Chemtura ($CHMT) stake, putting its ownership up to 8.4%.

Other notable activist happenings

  • Stadium Capital, which owns 11.3% of Big Five Sporting Goods ($BGFV), sent a letter to the sporting goods company. It took BGFV to task over the creation of a special committee that excludes Stadium Capital from board representation. Further reading - Stadium Capital's Letter To Big 5 Sporting Goods ($BGFV)
  • Groveland Capital called out the corporate governance at Biglari Holdings ($BH). Groveland has nominated six directors for the BH board.
  • Gannett Co. ($GCI) received a letter from Carl Icahn, which wants to ease the ability for the company to get bought after it splits. Icahn owns 6.6% of GCI. Further reading - Carl Icahn Letter To Gannett Co. ($GCI)
  • Lakewood Capital is taking Select Income REIT ($SIR) to task, making a presentation to the board that the REIT needs change. Lakewood owns 5.8% of the REIT via derivatives.
  • EMC ($EMC) added two of Elliott Associate recommendations to the board. Elliott took a stake in Jul. 2014 and has been pushing the company to spinoff its VMware stake.
  • Engaged Capital got two board reps added to the Jamba Juice ($JMBA) board. Engaged owns a 7% activist stake. Further reading - How Engaged Capital Can Fix Jamba Juice ($JMBA)
  • Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) put one of Trian Fund's representatives on the board.
  • Starboard has been active and finally revealed that it's pushing for an Office Depot ($ODP) and Staples ($SPLS) merger via a letter. Starboard went active on SPLS back in Dec. Further reading - On The Staples ($SPLS) And Office Depot ($ODP) Merger Featuring Starboard Value

Most read posts from stockpucker over the last two weeks

  • WetSeal: Burns Another Activist, Who's Next? WetSeal has gone bust. Cache ($CACH) is likely the next victim. And the potential CACH bankruptcy will burn the likes of Michael Price, Cooper Creek Partners and Mill Road Capital.
  • Oasis Petroleum ($OAS) Is One Of The Few Activist Targets In Oil & Gas. You have to throw the fact that OAS trades at less than 4x forward earnings and a P/E-to-growth rate ($PEG) ratio of 0.2 out the window. Dabbling in small-cap O&G names isn't for the faint of heart right now. Oil prices are in the driver's seat when it comes to the future of these stocks -- OAS included.
  • Top Activist Trends For 2015. Oil & Gas: The oil price fall will spark energy activism - companies in the space are just too cheap to ignore. They are the "low hanging fruit" of 2015. Activist targets could include Halcon Resources($HK), Key Energy Services ($KEG) and Contango Oil & Gas ($MCF). The big angle is O&G companies overloaded with debt, which could force them into selling themselves.
  • Activist Investor Gives Up On The Noble Corp ($NE) Story. It looks like it's really up to oil prices to drive NE's stock price. We'd rather not make an investment in a company where the thesis is to "wait and hope" that oil prices bounce back and drilling activity steps back up.

In case you missed our last activist update, here's what activists have been doing: Corvex Management, Trian Partners and more