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Search resuls for: "Kenneth Squire"


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The firm's principals are generally on the boards of half of ValueAct's core portfolio positions and have had 55 public company board seats over 22 years. Adding Morfit to the board of Salesforce makes a ton of sense regardless of the activist environment. Morfit has experience helping management increase both growth and margins from a board level, and both can be improved at Salesforce. The looming question is whether he will initially be doing this with an activist cloud hanging over the company's head in the form of a proxy fight by one of the other activists involved. It likely had been engaging with Salesforce management for several months, and this appointment may have happened just as a threatened proxy fight was reported.
Activist Commentary: Inclusive Capital Partners is a San Francisco-based investment firm focused on increasing shareholder value and promoting sound environmental, social and governance practices. As a pioneering active ESG ("AESG") investor, Inclusive seeks long-term shareholder value through active partnership with companies whose core businesses contribute solutions to this pursuit. Bayer's crop science division accounts for approximately 25% of global crop farming. There are several ways to create this shareholder value. Bayer currently trades at approximately 7x earnings while its pure-play crop science peer, Corteva, trades at closer to 20x earnings.
Disney offered Peltz, founding partner of Trian Fund Management, a role as a board observer and asked him to sign a standstill agreement, which Peltz declined. Offer of a board observer positionSometimes a board observer position can be beneficial, particularly for investors who do not have a lot of board experience and are less likely to be a regular contributor to board discussions. But offering Peltz a position as a board observer is like saying to Whitney Houston, "You can join the band, but you are not allowed to sing." It is curious as to why Peltz started this proxy fight in the first place and why Disney is resisting it. Peltz acquired his position when Bob Chapek was CEO and likely had a plan to replace him with someone Peltz had already identified.
It invests in deeply discounted real estate in the public markets and select corporate engagements. Land & Buildings ("L&B") is a real estate focused investor, and this is primarily a real estate play. In its analysis, L&B assumes a 7.25% cap rate and a $2.8 billion value for the real estate. Without stabilizing operations, the real estate strategy can only create so much shareholder value. However, optimizing attendance and stabilizing operations will magnify any value created by the real estate strategy.
Business: Bath & Body Works is a specialty retailer of home fragrance, body care, soaps and sanitizer products. In August 2021, Bath & Body Works (formerly known as L Brands) completed the separation of its Victoria's Secret business. Loeb is one of the true pioneers in the field of shareholder activism and definitely one of a handful of activists who shaped what has become modern day shareholder activism. He invented the poison pen letter in a time when a poison pen was often necessary, and as times have changed, he has transitioned from the poison pen to the power of the argument. Third Point expressed its concern with Bath & Body Works' executive compensation structure , noting that excessive awards have been made that are disconnected to important performance metrics.
As a result, Hestia often invests in companies that might be misunderstood or not favored by the market, like GameStop, Best Buy and Pitney Bowes. Pitney Bowes' SendTech solutions business is the core enterprise that the company is generally known for: postage meters. The SendTech Solutions segment accounts for 38% of Pitney Bowes' revenue and generated $429 million in earnings before interest and taxes in 2021. Global Ecommerce comprises 46% of Pitney Bowes' revenue but lost $99 million of EBIT in 2021. Hestia will likely need more than just one board seat to drive change at Pitney Bowes.
Trian calls itself a "constructivist," implying a more friendly activist investor. Trian, like most activist investors, intends to be friendly and always starts off that way, and then it is up to the company to respond. The firm is an activist investor, plain and simple. On Nov. 21, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trian Fund Management took an approximately $800 million stake in Disney. In this situation, Trian seems to be looking for a board seat and is urging Disney to make operational improvements and reduce costs.
Activist Commentary: Impactive Capital is an activist hedge fund founded in 2018 by Lauren Taylor Wolfe and Christian Alejandro Asmar. Impactive wants board representation to get Envestnet to better align pay for performance, refocus on capital allocation and bolster long-term shareholder value. Anyone with any understanding of Impactive, Envestnet's performance and the incumbent board would know that Impactive is sure to get at least one board seat in a proxy fight. Impactive offered one of eight with no incumbent losing a board seat. Squire is also the creator of the AESG™ investment category, an activist investment style focused on improving ESG practices of portfolio companies.
Activist Commentary: Starboard is a very successful activist investor and has extensive experience helping companies focus on operational efficiency and margin improvement. Splunk has a leading market share and is considered the "gold standard" in the log management and security markets. This is a typical Starboard investment – a company with strong top-line growth and enviable market position that needs help with optimizing growth and margins. When an activist takes a position at a company, it puts that company in pseudo-play with potential acquirers often coming out of the woodwork. You would think that their interest level has piqued a little with Splunk now trading at a $12.7 billion market cap.
Business: Crown Holdings is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and sale of packaging products for consumer goods and industrial products. Activist Commentary: Carl Icahn is the grandfather of shareholder activism and a true pioneer of the strategy. The opportunity to create shareholder value here is relatively simple: sell non-core businesses, buy back shares and focus on the pure-play beverage business. The company announced its acquisition of Signode, a transit packaging business, for $3.9 billion in 2017, and might be reluctant to sell it for less than that now. There is more value in how they use those proceeds (i.e., buying back stock in an undervalued, growing business).
Activist Commentary: Starboard is a very successful activist investor and has extensive experience helping companies focus on operational efficiency and margin improvement. Starboard sees Vertiv as a great business in a solid industry with secular tailwinds – more data is being generated every day requiring more data centers. After going public, Vertiv delivered solid results, which allowed management to continue to focus on revenue growth, rather than operating margins. This is a typical situation for Starboard: a private company CEO running a public company like a private company leading to underperforming operating margins. Both Starboard and Vertiv seem to be on the same page.
Starboard views Salesforce as a high quality and sticky business at an attractive valuation with the potential for significant value creation through a better balance of growth and profitability. Salesforce peers are operating at a "rule of 50" – average revenue growth plus adjusted operating margins of peers equals 49.4. Salesforce currently has a revenue growth rate of 17.0% and 20.4% operating margins, which brings it to 37.4 combined. Starboard has had extensive experience with growth companies that begin to see slowing growth rates and need to either regain that growth and/or focus on margins. Even if they were to hit that target, this would only bring them to a growth + margin of 42.
Now, a bear market has exposed these weaknesses, and for the first time, the ESG investing movement has been losing some steam. This drastic reaction to ESG funds does on the right exactly what it is criticizing on the left: It takes an extreme position that exploits the views of the far right to weaponize the opponents of ESG funds just as many ESG funds were created to exploit and weaponize the acolytes of ESG. ESG investing is a term that combines two concepts: ESG and investing. Responsible ESG investing means not just being responsible to environmental, social and governance factors, but being a responsible investor to ESG factors and the goal of attaining outsized capital appreciation. Squire is also the creator of the AESG™ investment category, an activist investment style focused on improving ESG practices of portfolio companies.
Activist Commentary: Starboard is a very successful activist investor and has extensive experience helping companies focus on operational efficiency and margin improvement. Starboard has had a notable track record with web applications companies going back to 2004 with their 13D investment in Register.com. Starboard has extensive experience in helping companies optimize growth and margins, typically from a board level. There is one other similarity between Wix and many other Starboard activist positions. Ken Squire is the founder and president of 13D Monitor, an institutional research service on shareholder activism, and he is the founder and portfolio manager of the 13D Activist Fund, a mutual fund that invests in a portfolio of activist 13D investments.
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