Dan Loeb has built a career—rather a lucrative one—of finding companies whose stock price is underperforming, then bullying and browbeating them into doing what he wanted to change that ASAP, earning himself a tidy profit along the way.
Of course, Loeb doesn’t have a monopoly on this strategy: It is called “shareholder activism.” And wouldn’t you know it but another fund manager has found a stock that’s worth a good deal less than it should be.
Asset Value Investors, a London fund manager that owns 10.1 per cent of [Third Point Investors Limited], in May published a letter proposing that investors should have the right to cash out their shares quarterly at close to their underlying value in order to narrow the discount.
TPIL, which acts as a feeder fund for Loeb’s New York-based hedge fund, said the changes would threaten the company’s long-term viability…. In a call with investors this year, Loeb said he would not bow to shareholders “seeking to earn a quick buck by trying to bully or force the board or me to do something that isn’t in the long-term interests of all of our investors”…. The TPIL board on Tuesday said the proposed shareholder vote could not go ahead because it would “inappropriately infringe on the board’s ability and obligation to manage the Company [and] would have no legal effect” under the company’s rules.
Boy, all of that defensive and legalistic stuff sure does sound familiar. In fact, it sounds like the kind of thing that tends to send Dan Loeb into a rage. Far be it for us, however, to talk about pots and kettles, or turnabout and fair play, or tastes of one’s own medicine. We’ll let this guy do it instead.
Tom Treanor, executive director at AVI, in May said the comments were “remarkable for their hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness” given Loeb’s long record of agitating for change at companies he invests in.
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