NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Activists are going after the best of the best these days. They don't want to lose money, so they pick targets that are successful, and they put heat on them to do even more. They are going after people who have built a straight, and they try to get a full house out of them. It's not easy, and for many it's just ridiculously difficult. But the activists know they have a winning hand each way, so they are in a no-lose situation.
For many years United Technologies was the cream of the crop, a technological marvel that dominated in heating ventilation and air conditioning; in defense -- mostly helicopter; and in elevators and aerospace. The company performed well at a time when General Electric (GE) , a competitor, was on the ropes, because of excellent balance-sheet management.
But the stock has been very listless of late, and on Friday we learned that now-former CEO Louis Chenevert may or may not have been spending too much time fine-tuning his yacht. I say "may or may not" because the company didn't even make it clear if that's why Louis Chenevert was gone well before his time was up.
Judging by the tenor of the Wall Street Journal story, it was an open secret that this gentlemen spent a ton of time augmenting the size of his boats, and the story pretty much read as if he had an obsession with boats, and not with the company. When other companies were trying to figure out whether to shrink or to grow, this man seemed to have been figuring out whether it might be more fun to have a 100-foot yacht than a 60-foot one.
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