Larry Robbins Doesn’t Go All Carl Icahn Unless He Really Has To

Don't make Larry angry...You won't like the old man he impersonates when he's angry.
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Whereas Uncle Carl learned to channel his aggression daily on the schoolyards of Queens, taking on all comers, Glenview Capital’s Larry Robbins is a hockey man, and on the rink as well as off, he knows its wisest to choose one’s battles. And, as he has demonstrated time and time and time and time and time again, Larry Robbins is also adept at turning a phrase or two—a skill he’s now turned to differentiating himself from the brutes.

He labels himself a “suggestivist,” meaning he will seek talks and tell companies what he thinks, focusing on “owner issues” such as capital allocation or whether to buy or sell. But demands are not his style….

“We are respectful as minority owners, rather than demanding anything,” Mr. Robbins said in an interview. “That helped build good relationships.”

Of course, not all companies (or neighbors) are amenable to suggestivism, at which point Robbins is ready to channel his inner Icahn and even borrow his schoolyard metaphor. That being said, he’s only had to do it once.

The fund led a campaign to unseat the entire sitting board of Health Management Associates Inc., a rare achievement and sign of sweeping support from other investors….

Mr. Robbins says he’s not had to worry about such fights ever since, acknowledging his fight may have made other companies take notice.

“If a kid finally stands up to the bully and punches him in the nose, every other kid on the playground is going to look at the kid differently,” he says.

Glenview’s Larry Robbins Would Rather Be a ‘Suggestivist’ Than Activist [WSJ MoneyBeat blog]

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