Dow Chemical announced some management changes on Monday.
Chief Financial Officer William H. (Bill) Weideman has elected to retire from the Company, following 38 years of service with Dow. The Board of Directors has elected Howard I. Ungerleider to succeed him as chief financial officer, and his appointment will become effective October 1, 2014.
There was also a promotion for Jim Fitterling, former executive vice president who becomes vice chairman of the company, under longstanding chairman and chief executive Andrew Liveris.
Why now though? Allow us to speculate. Read more
We said to keep an eye on Dow and that advice hasn’t changed. With one activist out there in public (Loeb), the possibility of another lurking, and a little over a week until the window for director nominations opens, this could all move rather quickly.
The reason is the very limited amount of room available to Dow’s chief executive. He is no pantomime villain – that would be to have Andrew Liveris backwards. But shareholder dissatisfaction is palpable and weighty, while it will be hard to avoid the request to appoint outside advisors to consider a split from Dan Loeb (who we understand has a more than $1bn stake). Read more
Well, well — it turns out the long-expected activist in Dow Chemical stock is poison pen wielder Dan Loeb.
Third Point, his $14bn hedge fund, has disclosed that Dow is its largest position by dollar value, and made its case by open letter:
That’s the gist of Sony’s response to billionaire activist investor Daniel Loeb’s suggestion, made via hand-delivered letter, that Sony should break itself up. It stems from an NYT Andrew Ross Sorkin exclusive.
Loeb’s idea is basically: partially spin out Sony’s entertainment division via an IPO which Loeb’s Third Point fund would happily sign up to. He’d also gladly accept a seat on Sony’s board. As the NYT noted, Loeb is known for ousting Yahoo’s former chief executive and poaching Marissa Mayer from Google to run the company. His hedge fund has quietly amassed a stake of about 6.5 per cent in Sony, making it one of the biggest shareholders.
From Loeb’s letter to Sony’s president and CEO Kazuo Hirai: Read more
Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock, who ousted chief executive Carol Bartz this week, is now under pressure himself from a key investor, Bloomberg reports. Third Point, a New York investment firm which holds a 5.2 per cent stake in Yahoo, urged Mr Bostock and his fellow directors to resign yesterday, citing their responsibility for the company’s poor performance. The letter added to continuing criticism leveled at the board for its poor performance since spurning Microsoft’s takeover bid in 2008, and for failing to pick leaders who could restore the fortunes of the pioneering web company.
An end of May snapshot…
Tudor BVI Global MTD (2.26%) YTD: (0.49%) Read more
It’s not so much the depth of the losses, FT Alphaville writes — though in some instances they have been nasty. Rather, it’s their breadth — across strategies, asset classes and managers — that has made May a particularly painful month for much of the hedge fund industry. Read more
It’s art hour here on FT Alphaville.
The Celebration series is comprised of an ambitious body of sixteen paintings and over twenty stainless steel sculptures focusing on toys, presents, and other small childhood objects, all rendered with spectacular attention to detail and phenomenal realism. The present work is an excellent example of the artist choosing an everyday, banal object — a chocolate Easter egg — and exalting it through an obsession with craft. As with many of his works, Koons creates a work of art that appeals to multiple senses, as astounding colors delight our vision and the tactile rendering of the blue foil and pink bow begs to be touched. Executed in 1994–2008, the present work is one of five versions, each of which is uniquely colored. Read more
Aggressive activist Dan Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over talks its managers regularly have with rivals at other funds.
According to Third Point’s quarterly letter to investors last month, first reported by Alpha magazine, the financial regulator has started a “formal investigation” of the $3.3bn fund after being told of the discussions. Mr Loeb – known for his forthright public letters to executives he disagrees with – wrote: Read more
Third Point, a $5.7bn hedge fund headed by activist Dan Loeb, has recently accumulated a stake of over 5m shares in Yahoo and is supporting investor Carl Icahn’s proxy battle, Reuters reports. Third Point, which held 1m shares in Yahoo as of March 31, may build its stake to up to 10m shares. Oil investor T. Boone Pickens is also supporting Icahn, saying earlier that he had acquired 10m shares in Yahoo. Icahn’s proxy contest, launched last week, is aimed at pressuring Yahoo to agree to be sold to Microsoft after Yahoo rejected its offer to buy the company for $47.5bn. But the companies said Sunday they have revived talks.
Investor nervousness over losses related to the US subprime lending crisis has hit demand for financial-services share offerings and prompted US Fed governor Ben Bernanke on Thursday to estimate the losses could reach up to $100bn, reports the FT.
However, in a trend that shows growing divergence between the fortunes of financial services and non-financial sector shares, some IPOs this week have done well in US markets. Read more
The decision to float a fund at all – and specifically to list in London – was bold, said Lombard back in June, when hedge fund Third Point announced plans for a listing. Demand for shares in the capital’s first main market hedge fund, listed by Brevan Howard in March, was not brilliant, and other investment groups have either dropped the idea, or opted for other centres, notably Amsterdam.
Those, as Carlyle found, have also not had an easy ride, though Lehman Brothers on Wednesday got its €500m IPO of a private equity fund of funds on Euronext away.
For a moment on Wednesday morning, it seemed that it was a bold move too far for Daniel Loeb, the founder of Thrid Point, known for his acerbic letters to underperforming companies. A note on the London Stock Exchange’s website said only that the fund, Third Point Offshore Investors had postponed trading in its shares until further notice. Read more
News that Third Point, the activist hedge fund led by Daniel Loeb, is to list a €500m-€700m fund in London brings the undisputed master of the poison pen to the UK’s shores.
Known for his abrasive turn of phrase,and venomous tongue, Loeb is among the highest profile, and surely the most entertaining, activists at work in the US. So this is an excellent time to look back at some of his finest work. Read more
Daniel Loeb’s Third Point Capital on Thursday will announce plans to list a €500m-€700m hedge fund in London in the first move by a US hedge fund to raise money from European equity investors. The move by the $6.7bn Third Point demonstrates confidence in demand for listed hedge funds following the disappointing €770m float of the first London main market hedge fund in March by Brevan Howard, the London manager. The listing – of Third Point Offshore Investors, a Guernsey-based company that will invest exclusively in Third Point’s main hedge fund – also brings one of New York’s most aggressive activists to London. Mr Loeb, known for berating executives, told the FT that in Europe he holds DaimlerChrysler, Philips and Infineon, had met their chief executives and had no plans to take an activist stance against them.
Take note. With hedge fund activism a growing presence in Britain, it would be nice (or at least entertaining) if those taking aim at the UK’s underperformers would do it with a little flair.
Step forward, Daniel Loeb, head of Third Point – known for his venomous tongue and sarcastic turn of phrase when expressing his dissatisfaction to companies he believes aren’t up to the job. Read more