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   Strategies & Market TrendsSpeculating in Takeover Targets


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To: richardred who wrote (3482)8/7/2013 7:17:20 AM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 
sold some more FEIM yesterday.

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To: richardred who wrote (3344)8/7/2013 7:19:52 AM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 
Sold out ISIL stake yesterday for big gain.

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To: richardred who wrote (3092)8/9/2013 10:59:21 AM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 
RE: RDEN Elizabeth ARDEN disappointed and possibly in time could be looked at by COTY IMO. It bounced off the 52 week low. AVP looks to be on the recovery road by itself, and a higher stock price without a bid. However they are lacking in skin care and the bigger attraction. AVP's Latin America sales and skin care line. L'Oreal is to big for Coty, but not for P&G or Unilever.

A Big Beauty Industry Deal Might Be Coming Soon.

beta.fool.com

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From: Glenn Petersen8/30/2013 11:34:13 PM
   of 6990
 
With Huge War Chests, Activist Investors Tackle Big Companies

By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and JULIE CRESWELL
August 30, 2013, 9:01 pm

Microsoft executives faced an unusual challenge in April when a $12 billion hedge fund, ValueAct, announced that it had bought a nearly $2 billion stake in the company with the intention of shaking things up.

To many analysts, the possibility that ValueAct, with less than 1 percent of Microsoft’s stock, could succeed seemed improbable at best. The firm buys shares in companies, hoping to fight for board seats and change the targets’ corporate strategies.

But that small stake appears to have had outsize influence. On Friday, Microsoft agreed to let ValueAct meet regularly with some of its directors. And the hedge fund’s president, Mason Morfit, could join the board within several months.

Once considered purveyors of a niche investment strategy, so-called activists like ValueAct have leapt onto the big stage as hedge funds wage bolder battles against ever-bigger corporate targets like Apple, leaving executives wondering if they could be next.

Unlike their predecessors who often pursued aggressive takeovers for quick gains, this latest generation of activists are largely agitating for some sort of long-term change — a shift in business strategy, a different use of cash, even a complete overhaul of a company’s board.

Robust returns in recent years and new money racing into these funds at a rate not seen in seven years have given activist investors — as defined by industry experts like the firm Hedge Fund Research — a war chest of $84 billion, more than double the assets they oversaw just four years ago. That money has fueled activists’ ambitions, with mixed results.

Over the last two years, activists have taken aim at a number of blue-chip companies, like Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. And one of the best-known players, Daniel S. Loeb, has even gone abroad, pushing for change at Sony, an icon of Japanese business.

Some battles have led to big victories. This spring, the hedge fund TPG-Axon successfully pushed for the ouster of SandRidge Energy’s chief executive, Tom Ward.

But others have led to tough losses: the billionaire William A. Ackman, who lost hundreds of millions of dollars in investor money in his campaign against Target, resigned from the board of J. C. Penney two weeks ago after unsuccessfully calling for the removal of its chairman; he sold his stake at a loss of nearly $500 million. And Mr. Loeb was unsuccessful in persuading Sony to partly spin off its huge entertainment arm.

This burst of activism is the latest evolution of efforts to push companies to change their behavior through investing.

In the 1980s, corporate raiders like T. Boone Pickens and Carl C. Icahn engaged in hostile takeovers or leveraged buyouts of companies, or sought to be bought out themselves at a profit. (Some of yesterday’s raiders, like Mr. Icahn, are today’s more public-relations-friendly “activists.”) In the 1990s, big pension funds like the powerful California Public Employees’ Retirement System took up the mantle, pressing for change not only in corporate governance but also on social issues like doing business in apartheid-era South Africa and protecting the environment.

Unlike the raiders, the current activists contends they are fighting for the interests of shareholders. To that end, the activists most often seek to appoint allies to board seats to help fight against what they see as complacent management and to bring more discipline to companies.

There is some evidence that the results bear that out. A study led by Lucian Bebchuk, a professor at Harvard Law School, published last month argues that companies singled out by these investors improved their operating performance within three years of an activist campaign.

Others are not so sure. Lawyers at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, one of the premier defenders against activists, said in a client note earlier this week that such campaigns had damaged American companies with an emphasis on the short term.

The hedge funds are financing activism with their healthy returns. Through the end of June, activist funds are up 9.6 percent, behind the 19.6 percent surge in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index but ahead of the 7.7 percent gain by equity-focused hedge funds at the end of June, according to Hedge Fund Research. Activist funds returned on average nearly 13 percent between 2009 and last year.

In turn, investors have plowed nearly $4.7 billion so far this year into funds deemed activist by Hedge Fund Research, the highest inflows since 2006.

Analysts say that the environment is ripe for activists. The rebounding markets have opened the door for mergers, while companies continue to hoard cash. David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital and Mr. Icahn have each taken aim at Apple’s reserves — more than $146 billion as of June 29 — pressing the company to return more cash to investors.

If Mr. Icahn is to be believed, Apple is willing to listen. “Spoke to Tim. Planning dinner in September,” the septuagenarian activist wrote in a Twitter post last week, referring to Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive. “Tim believes in buyback and is doing one. What will be discussed is magnitude.”

And while the old guard, including Mr. Icahn, Mr. Ackman and Nelson Peltz remain active in numerous corporate battles, newcomers are trying their hands as well.

Earlier this summer, Larry Robbins’s Glenview Capital Management fought and won its first public activist campaign, persuading shareholders of the hospital chain Health Management Associates to replace the entire sitting board with eight independent nominees.

And an investment firm founded by David Gottesman, a director of Warren E. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, shifted from its normal buy-and-hold strategy to wage war for control of the drug maker Vivus. In a letter sent to executives this spring, Mr. Gottesman’s firm, First Manhattan, noted its five-year tenure as a shareholder, followed by its conclusion that the company needed a more experienced and independent board.

Last month, the two settled, with First Manhattan gaining a majority of board seats and its choice of chief executive.

Traditional mutual funds and asset managers have become more open in supporting activist campaigns as well, after years of shying away from the hedge funds as loudmouthed, bare-knuckled brawlers. Mr. Icahn’s fight against the proposed takeover of Dell Inc. gained support from unlikely sources like T. Rowe Price and Franklin Mutual Advisers.

Corporate executives are taking activist investors more seriously than ever.

Companies monitor their shares for signs of an activist and are quick to hire advisers when an insurgent investor emerges. And more than ever, they are willing to offer a compromise — a board seat or two, an exploration of asset sales — to head off an all-out battle for control.

“Companies are trying to engage with the activists early, below the radar, so that things don’t have to bubble up to the surface and become public, which is extremely disruptive to the company,” said Damien Park, the founder of Hedge Fund Solutions, which consults with companies and hedge funds on activism.

Years of legal battles have also whittled away traditional corporate defenses against activists. Many companies now elect their boards annually, as opposed to “staggering” director elections every year, making it easier for dissidents to gain control.

Activists have grown up, too.

“Activism in general has become more sophisticated than it used to be,” said David Rosewater, a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel who regularly represents activist investors. “You need to have a real plan, an in-depth understanding of the company and a compelling argument to shareholders about how you’re going to do it better.”

dealbook.nytimes.com

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To: richardred who wrote (3348)9/2/2013 12:01:40 PM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 
Back from AK. A familiar name in the harbor.


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To: Cautious_Optimist who wrote (3281)9/3/2013 8:19:20 AM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 
Nokia to sell handset business to Microsoft for $7.2 billion.
reuters.com

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To: richardred who wrote (2749)9/3/2013 8:31:06 AM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 
Vodafone completes Verizon Wireless sale for $130B
usatoday.com

ATT/T-Mobile didn't get regulatory clearance, but it looks like the big will get bigger.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (3489)9/12/2013 12:44:15 PM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 
IMO Carl's new battle. A quick return/verses a innovative longer term value return. I'd like to see Carl go all in at Apple. Currently many investors are valuing a little piece of Apple pie. IMO Carl just wants his piece A La Mode so he can move on. Carl generally carries coattails if you get out before him, or play your cards right.

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To: richardred who wrote (2584)9/12/2013 1:22:07 PM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 
RE:ECA Still holding- Looks like ECA wants to be like Cenovous again. Just a bad market for dry gas currently.

Encana Provides Update on Strategy Development Process.
finance.yahoo.com

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To: richardred who wrote (2977)9/13/2013 2:06:46 PM
From: richardred
   of 6990
 

ViroPharma Said to Hire Goldman Amid Interest From Sanofi
By David Welch, Jeffrey McCracken & Matthew Campbell - Sep 13, 2013 1:07 PM ET



ViroPharma Inc. (VPHM), a producer of drugs that treat rare diseases, has attracted interest from suitors including European drugmakers Sanofi (SAN) and Shire Plc (SHP), said people with knowledge of the process. ViroPharma’s shares surged.

ViroPharma began working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on a possible auction after fielding an unsolicited approach, said the people, who asked not to be named because talks are private. Goldman Sachs has actively sought other suitors for the Exton, Pennsylvania-based drugmaker since then, said one person. ViroPharma’s market value was about $2 billion before Bloomberg’s report.





Enlarge image
ViroPharma Inc. Director Paul Brooke. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg




The world’s top pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have pursued acquisitions this year as they seek new drugs to replace products whose patents are expiring. After Amgen Inc.’s agreement to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ONXX) for $10.4 billion in August, the value of deals in the two sectors has risen 14 percent from a year earlier to more than $70 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

ViroPharma shares advanced 22 percent to $37.18 as of 1:06 p.m. in New York, the most since August 2005. Representatives at Sanofi, ViroPharma, Shire and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Sales at ViroPharma rose almost 10 percent in the second quarter to $103.7 million, bolstered by its treatment Cinryze, which treats hereditary angioedema, an inflammatory condition. The company may report third-quarter results next month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

bloomberg.com

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