IT services company Cognizant Technology Solutions ( (CTSH) ) shares spiked up by 10% early Monday after billionaire activist Paul Singer and his activist investment fund Elliott Management launched an activist campaign urging the company to make a variety of changes, such as establishing a capital distribution program.
"Despite growing into a scale market leader with stable and significant cash flows, Cognizant has remained unwilling to establish a capital return program," said Elliott portfolio manager Jesse Cohn in a 16-page-letter.
The activist fund pointed out that Cognizant has $4 billion in cash as well as $1.1 billion in onshore cash following a recent repatriation, and "virtually no debt." The activist fund said that Cognizant is trading at its lowest valuation since the financial crisis. The fund also urged Cognizant to make changes to its delivery process, its sales and marketing program and make cuts to its human resources department and finance unit.
If the company doesn't respond soon, the New York-based Elliott could launch a proxy contest to elect dissident directors and drive the change the fund is seeking. Elliott has launched more than 96 campaigns at 92 companies since 1994, including 13 proxy fights, according to Factset.