Altai Capital Buys Into Wausau Paper Corp. (WPP)

Rishi Bajaj, Toby Symonds, And Steve Tesoriere‘s Altai Capital has purchased 2.6 million shares of Wausau Paper Corp (NYSE:WPP), according to a recent SEC filing. The technology-focused hedge fund now owns 5.5% of Wausau’s outstanding stock.

What prompted the new position? It seems activist investor Jeff Smith of Starboard Capital‘s letter to the company nominating three directors to the Board was the inspiration. And it seems Altai Capital has intentions of doing more than just sitting passively on the sidelines.

Wausau Paper Corp.(NYSE:WPP)

Per the filing:

The Reporting Persons have engaged and may in the future engage in discussions with and/or meet with management, the Board of Directors of the Issuer (the “Board”), potential acquirers, financing sources and other shareholders and/or formulate plans or proposals regarding the Issuer or its securities.

Of course, the hedge fund doesn’t merely want to have discussions. The filing also indicates that Altai Capital “may take positions or make proposals” on a range of issues related to Wausau Paper Corp. (NYSE:WPP)’s operations

Further the company is on board with Starboard (at least at this early stage), as stated in the filing, Altai Capital has “”reviewed the materials filed by Starboard Value LP (“Starboard”), including Starboard’s recent announcement of its intention to nominate three individuals for election to the Board.” The company stated the need for additional discussion with Mr. Smith and company, but  ”believe that Starboard has made a convincing prima facie case supporting the need for continued enhancement of the Issuer’s Board.”

Altai Capital now holds the second most Wausau Paper Corp. (NYSE:WPP) shares behind Starboard, which owns 15.2% of the company’s outstanding stock. Although Altai has just bought into the mission, Wisconsin-based paper products company, Starboard has been long WPP for nearly three years.

As we stated last week,  Starboard believes that Wausau Paper Corp. (NYSE:WPP) has been significantly undervalued and over the past two years and are trying to prod the company into taking serious action to enhance the shareholder value of the company. It seems that Bajaj, Symonds, and Tesoriere’s hedge fund is intent on doing the same thing.

It’s worth noting that Wausau Paper Corp. (NYSE:WPP) didn’t take too kindly to Mr. Smith’s letter, saying it was ”surprised and disappointed” by the 10-page document.

Disclosure: none

Recommended Reading:

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