Hedge Fund News: Barry Rosenstein, Jeffrey Smith, Bill Ackman

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Jana’s Rosenstein Said to See Hertz Able to Repurchase Shares (Bloomberg)
Hertz Global Holdings Inc., which is under shareholder pressure after accounting issues, could buy back as much as 20 percent of its shares, according to hedge fund manager Barry Rosenstein. Rosenstein, whose Jana Partners owns more than 8 percent of the rental-car company, said today at the EnTrust Investment Summit in New York that he expects Hertz to report financials by June that will then allow the share repurchase, according to a person who attended and asked not to be named because it’s a private event.

A Primer on Starboard, the Activist That Pushed for a Staples-Office Depot Merger (New York Times)
Staples’ deal to buy Office Depot for $6.3 billion had been long awaited by investors — but especially by one of the most prominent activist investors of the past four years. And that isn’t Carl C. Icahn or William A. Ackman or Daniel S. Loeb. It is Jeffrey Smith’s Starboard Value, a $3 billion hedge fund that has claimed some notable victories in its relatively short life. Last year alone, the firm managed to oust the entire board of Darden Restaurants, the parent of Olive Garden, a feat that relatively few of its peers can claim.

Jeff Smith - Starboard Value

Zoetis Adds Ackman Deputy to Its Board, Avoiding a Fight (New York Times)
Zoetis, an animal health care company, has added a top lieutenant of the activist investor William A. Ackman to its board of directors, as part of a deal that avoids a possible fight. Zoetis said on Wednesday that it had appointed to its board William F. Doyle, a member of the investment team of Mr. Ackman’s hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management. In addition, Zoetis said it would later appoint another director agreed on by both Zoetis and Pershing Square. The agreement forestalls any fight between Mr. Ackman and Zoetis, a veterinary medicine maker that was spun off from Pfizer in 2013 and has a roughly $21.8 billion market capitalization. Shares of Zoetis declined modestly in early trading on Wednesday.

Don’t Call It A Comeback: Steve Cohen Rebrands Online (CNBC)
For years, billionaire investor Steve Cohen assiduously avoided the press. Few photos of him existed, and the standard response to a media inquiry—like many other hedge funds—was “no comment.” SAC Capital Advisors’ rudimentary chess-themed website, www.sac.com, listed a few jobs and was otherwise restricted to clients. Not anymore. The latest effort by legally beleaguered Cohen to rebrand himself is www.point72.com, a glossy website for his personal money management firm, Point72 Asset Management. Launched Monday, it emphasizes ethics, community engagement and career opportunities—a clear effort to move beyond SAC’s guilty plea to criminal insider trading charges and $1.8 billion in fines.

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