"Almost every company that is doing share repurchases could be doing M&A," says Ubben of the disparity between companies that are engineering earnings growth versus the types of growth-oriented turnarounds that he's investing in and even pushing for.
Ubben currently sits on the boards of financial software specialist
(ACXM), companies for which ValueAct was a rumored takeover bidder. Foods giant
(SLE), another board seat for ValueAct, recently announced a split of its
"We are a huge advocate of pure play companies," said Ubben about how spins add a control premium to shares, on a Monday activism panel. He also noted that the fund usually targets just one board seat and not a slate of directors. ValueAct also has board seats at Valeant Pharmaceuticals and data provider Gartner (IT), among others.
ValueAct's website highlights quotes from Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett and John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, not your typical touchstones for activists: Buffett is famous for saying the best holding period for a stock is forever, and in the case of Bogle, he's synonymous with passive mutual fund investing.Yet Ubben's breed of activist is on the rise. In fact, on a IMN Active-Passive Investor Summit panel, key players in many shareholder campaigns gave insight into why they are more likely to side with quieter