The annual Active-Passive Investor Summit held by 13D Monitor was back in person this week for the first time since early 2019. And with that, came a flurry of activist hedge fund news.
Wednesday’s in-person event at New York’s Plaza Hotel featured some of the biggest names in the hedge fund/institutional investor world, with Starboard Value’s Jeff Smith revealing several positions, among them a stake in industrial equipment maker Colfax Corp. Scott Ostfeld of Jana Partners also made news for suggesting Macy’s could increase its stock price by separating its e-commerce business – though didn’t make it clear if Jana held a stake. Still, the flurry of news from the event suggests the steady pace of campaigns to continue.
Meanwhile, Carl Ichan appeared back on the activist scene by publishing a letter aimed at the board of Southwest Gas over the possible acquisition of Questar Pipeline from Dominion Energy. Icahn, Starboard and other activists such as Elliott Management often go after acquirers or targets if they feel that value is being left on the table from an announced bid. Ichan, never one to mince words, is still fond of the poison pen, which has largely faded over the years. The Southwest’s potential purchase would “make all past errors pale in comparison." So far, Southwest has ignored Ichan’s request and moved forward with the deal. Don’t expect Icahn’s pen to remain in the quill.
Have a great weekend,
Chris and Mike