2014: The Year of the Activist Investor?
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -It's just a couple of weeks into 2014, and activism is already dominating headlines.
We got word earlier this week that activist investor Nelson Peltz is joining the Mondelez (MDLZ - Get Report) board. Trian's Peltz had been pushing for a merger of Mondelez with Pepsi's (PEP) snack business-- and while he will drop this push now having a position on the board, Peltz will still push for margin improvement and top-line growth.
Next up, Third Point's Dan Loeb has taken a large stake in Dow Chemical (DOW - Get Report) with a push for the company to sell off its petrochemical business. Remember, we have seen strong value creation from Dupont (DD - Get Report) and PPG Industries (PPG - Get Report) as they have become more specialty chemical companies.
And then, Carl Icahn, who is also adding to his Apple (AAPL) stake, submitted a proposal to Ebay (EBAY - Get Report) to spin off its PayPal business and nominated two of his employees as candidates for the board.
This activism thread is key for a number of reasons: (1) There is a prop up to the market when individual companies underperform peers, as in the case of the above names and (2) This is a re-affirmation of the sum-of-the-parts of breakup value creation that remains an important theme in the market. As I mentioned earlier this week, the Beam takeover was most significant because it was another feather in the at of value creation for the Fortune Brands split-up.
Ultimately, amidst what has been a spotty earnings season, these activist moves are more than just big names talking a big game... they add points to the bull case for the market this year. Oh, and by the way, I say watch out IBM (IBM).
--Written by Nicole Urken in New York.
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