This week, it emerged that Third Point had taken an undisclosed stake in United Technologies, with unknown intentions. Under normal circumstances this would not be a particularly interesting tidbit until founder Dan Loeb personally nailed a letter detailing CEO Greg Hayes’ many shortcomings to his door above a flaming bag of dog excrement, especially since Hayes invited this sort of generally unwanted attention earlier this month. But, dear reader, these are no normal circumstances, for before Hayes invited activists to “come into the stock,” another hedge fund activist had already done so. This activist’s name is Bill Ackman.
It would be fair to say that Dan Loeb is a card-carrying member of the legion of Bill Ackman detractors. While he personally has not done as much as say, Carl Icahn, to torture the hapless Pershing Square Capital Management founder, he certainly delighted in it more than just about anyone. And yet now he willingly places himself at Ackman’s side?
The maker of jet engines and elevators is the latest target for Dan Loeb’s Third Point, a hedge fund that has called for dramatic changes at other industrial companies. Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square has also taken a position in United Technologies….
The presence of activist firms raises the stakes as the Farmington, Connecticut-based company weighs a breakup and looks to close one of the largest-ever aerospace deals.
Now, it’s not unprecedented for Ackman’s enemies to lay down their arms against him, at least temporarily. And in spite of a reputation for unforgiving vindictiveness, Loeb did say that joining Icahn’s anti-Ackman crusade was nothing personal, jokes about Icahn entering Ackman through the back door notwithstanding.
Of course, it’s also not unprecedented for Ackman’s enemies to spend a little money just to make him squirm. You know, for fun. And there would be a certain cruel poetry to Loeb profiting on one of Ackman’s greatest catastrophes only to turn around and screw him again on the position he’s spending what’s left of his Herbalife investment on, just as things seem to be turning around for him. Suffice it to say that such a deliciously sadistic plan cannot be ruled out.
While Third Point has taken a stake in United Technologies, according to a person familiar with matter who asked not to be identified, the firm hasn’t revealed the size of its holding or said whether it would seek any changes.