Category Archives: Shareholder Activism

Trian Partners (Peltz, May, and Garden)

Trian Partners

Trian was created in 2005 with a focus on an operations-centric investment strategy. They leverage the three founders experience in operations to identify need and implement change at targeted companies.

One of my personal favorite aspects of Trian is with each activist campaign they release an analysis that outlines a well researched reason for the campaign and some thoughts around solutions. It is a great tool for the aspiring activist to get at inside look at the due diligence required for a campaign.

They have executed three major activist campaigns to date:

DuPont:

September 2014: Press Release and Analysis

PepsiCo:

March 2014: Press Release and Analysis

February 2014: Press Release and Analysis

Lazard:

June 2012: Press release and Analysis

Lazard stock has had remarkable performance post-2012:

Lazard Stock Price

Third Point Advisors (Dan Loeb)

Letters to Yahoo:

  1. First (May 9, 2012)
  2. Second (May 3, 2012)
  3. Third (March 28, 2012)
  4. Fourth (March 14, 2012)
  5. Fifth (Sept 14, 2011)
  6. Sixth (Nov 4, 2011)

Letter to Pogo (Dec 1, 2006)

This letter really showcases Loeb’s ‘poison pen’ technique with quotes such as “In the one and a half decades you have run Pogo, shareholders have suffered sub par returns. Your track record is long and meager, and it is time for change.”

As a result of a subsequent proxy battle Loeb gained two board seats for himself and his senior PM Bradley Radoff. Later in 2007 an acquisition of Pogo was announced by Plains Exploration & Production Co. for $3.6B.  Loeb agreed to support the acquisition.

Letter to Nabi Pharma (April 27, 2006)

To reiterate, we insist that new bankers be immediately retained and that a bona
fide public sale process be commenced immediately. Anything less than finally
creating substantial value for Nabi shareholders, rather than continually paying
lip service to it while acting otherwise, is completely unacceptable.

Sincerely,

Daniel S. Loeb
Chief Executive Officer
Third Point LLC

And the result? At the end of 2006 Third Point and Nabi settled with Third Point directors being assigned to the board as well as the forming of a special committee to pursue strategic alternatives. Eventually Nabi was merged with Biota Holdings Limited.

Letter to Ligand (Sept 23, 2005)

Letter to Star Gas (Feb 14, 2005)

Perhaps the most scathing and personal attack resides in this letter:

Sadly, your ineptitude is not limited to your failure to communicate with bond and unit holders. A review of your record reveals years of value destruction and strategic blunders which have led us to dub you one of the most dangerous and incompetent executives in America. (I was amused to learn, in the course of our
investigation, that at Cornell University there is an "Irik Sevin Scholarship." One can only pity the poor student who suffers the indignity of attaching your name to his academic
record.)

And this gem with regards to the CEO’s mom being a paid board member:

Should you be found derelict in the performance of your executive duties, as we believe is the case, we do not believe your mom is the right person to fire you from your job.

It’s hard not to admire his panache.

I have known you personally for many years and thus what I am about to say may seem harsh, but is said with some authority. It is time for you to step down from your role as CEO and director so that you can do what you do best: retreat
to your waterfront mansion in the Hamptons where you can play tennis and hobnob with your fellow 
socialites. The matter of repairing the mess you have created should be left to professional management and those that have an economic stake in the outcome.

Letter to Salton Corp (Sept 20, 2004)

Letter to Intercept (May 27, 2004)

Letter to Western Gas (April 25, 2004)

Letter to Penn Virginia (Feb 27, 2002) and another (March 11, 2003)