Tribune Media's (TRCO) - Get Tribune Media Co. Class A Report share price spiked in late trading Tuesday after activist investor Starboard Value's Jeff Smith suggested that he may make recommendations to the company involving board structure, capitalization and "potential business combinations."
The activist investor reported owning a 6.6% stake, accumulating shares between Dec. 30 and Feb. 17.
Tribune Media's share price spiked up 2.2% to $33.70 in after-hours trading on the news of the Starboard campaign. The company, which is based in Chicago, is one of the largest television broadcasters and has a $3 billion market capitalization.
Starboard's initial activist filing is short on details of what could be next. However, the activist often issues an initial securities filing with some vague details that is often followed up with more specifics. Smith's track record suggests an escalation down the road -- and even pressure to have the company sold -- is a real possibility. According to Factset, Starboard Value has launched 133 campaigns, including 62 director-election proxy fights since 1999. Smith often launches director battles to help drive a share price improvement and M&A agenda.
Last April, Smith got himself a seat on Yahoo!'s (YHOO) strategic review committee, a panel charged with evaluating potential bids to acquire the business. From his position on the panel, Smith was integrally involved in assessing every possible bid and their financing options. Soon afterward, in July, Yahoo! agreed to sell itself to Verizon (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report .
More recently, Smith reached a deal to give Starboard Value five director seats on the company's board. Smith received a spot on two critical strategic review committees.