Newell Brands Ends Proxy Fight with Starboard (Reuters)
(Reuters) – Consumer products maker Newell Brands Inc (NWL.N) has agreed to add three independent directors to its board, including one proposed by hedge fund Starboard Value LP, ending a months-long proxy fight with the activist investor. Shares of the Sharpie maker rose 3.2 percent to $27.30 in premarket trading on Monday. Starboard had planned to press ahead with the proxy fight, saying more work was needed to repair the company even after rival hedge fund boss Carl Icahn won four seats on Newell’s board last month. Newell said on Monday it planned to nominate Bridget Ryan Berman from Starboard’s slate, with Icahn also backing her candidacy for election to the board at its 2018 annual meeting.
Sears CEO Eddie Lampert’s Hedge Fund Wants to Buy Kenmore and Other Sears Assets (CNBC)
ESL Investments, the hedge fund led by Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert, has made a proposal to buy the Kenmore brand, Sears’ Home Improvement business, its PartsDirect division and some of the department store chain’s real estate. The embattled retailer recently saw its sales drop nearly 30 percent during the holiday quarter. In a quest for liquidity, Sears has been shedding its unprofitable retail locations and searching for buyers for its other assets.
Activist Fund Elliott Ramps up Pressure on South Korean Auto Giant Hyundai (Reuters)
SEOUL (Reuters) – U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management dismissed Hyundai Motor Group’s restructuring plan as insufficient on Monday and called on the South Korean conglomerate to adopt a holding company strategy and appoint more independent board members. Elliott disclosed this month that it holds more than $1 billion worth of shares in three key affiliates of Hyundai Motor Group and called for a “more detailed roadmap” on how the group will improve corporate governance, optimize balance sheets and enhance capital returns. Stepping up its campaign against the South Korean carmaker on Monday, Elliott said it was unclear how the group’s restructuring plan would benefit minority shareholders.
John Paulson Seeks Big Fees While Risking His Money (Bloomberg)
After most of his clients have fled, billionaire John Paulson has embarked on a strategy to raise assets and generate big fees at the risk of losing his own capital. Paulson & Co. signed up last year with the three main providers of so-called first-loss funds to pursue the wagers, according to a March regulatory filing. These deals with Topwater Capital, Prelude Capital Management and Boothbay Fund Management allow Paulson to lever-up his own capital many times over after he squandered much of it on wrong-way bets.
Low Profile Hedge Funds Post High Returns in Year After New York Sohn Conference (Reuters)
The best ideas of some press-shy hedge fund managers who spoke at the 2017 New York Sohn Investment Conference outperformed those of celebrity managers such as Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, according to a Reuters analysis. Josh Resnick, founder of New York-based Jericho Capital Asset Management, had the best overall investment idea of the 11 featured investors who spoke last year. His, short, or bet against, Frontier Communications Corp (FTR.O) gained 61 percent since it was announced on May 8 of last year. Larry Robbins, the billionaire manager of Glenview Capital Management, had the next-best performance, with approximately 33 percent gains in his bullish position in DXC Technology Co (DXC.N).