Third Point LLC's Dan Loeb may not have gotten exactly what he wanted at Honeywell International Inc. (HON) .
But the insurgent investor appears to be satisfied with the conglomerate's move early Tuesday, Oct. 10, to divest assets that will create two new stand-alone publicly traded companies.
One publicly traded company will consist of Honeywell's Homes product portfolio and ADI global distribution businesses, with annualized sales of about $4.5 billion. The other will be Honeywell's Transportation Systems, with sales of $3 billion. The announcement came after Honeywell completed a comprehensive portfolio review.
It also came after Third Point's Loeb in April launched a campaign urging Honeywell to spin off its aerospace unit, which he said at the time would result in an increase in shareholder value in excess of $20 billion. According to the hedge fund's first-quarter investor letter, obtained by TheDeal, Loeb said a move to spin off the aerospace unit would "transform Honeywell into an industrial growth company with a focus on automation and productivity."
Honeywell didn't take that action, but the conglomerate's move to create two other publicly traded companies pleased Loeb. On Tuesday, Loeb said in a statement that he was pleased that the board and management "chose to conduct a thorough portfolio review and agreed that Honeywell should narrow its business focus." He added that he was supportive of CEO Darius Adamczyk, who was installed in the position in April. Loeb added that he was confident that Adamczyk's "commitment to continuous portfolio optimization will further improve shareholder value. "
Activists often press companies into divesting assets and setting up publicly traded businesses as a means of extracting shareholder value otherwise hidden within the conglomerate structure. Honeywell's shares were up about 1% in premarket trading on Tuesday on the news. The company's shares are up from about $130 a share April 27, when Loeb first released his letter and Honeywell comments. Shares have gained 23.95% since the start of the year.
The move was the first major shakeup at the U.S. industrial conglomerate since Adamczyk succeeded David Cote as CEO in April. Loeb had said in his April letter that he was "pleased" that Adamczyk was brought in as the CEO.
The planned separation is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. They're intended to be tax-free spinoffs to Honeywell shareowners for federal income tax purposes. The separations will not require a shareowner vote.
"The remaining Honeywell portfolio will consist of high-growth businesses in six attractive industrial end markets, each aligned to global megatrends including energy efficiency, infrastructure investment, urbanization and safety," Adamczyk said in a statement.
Nevertheless, if Loeb would like to press further he would have to wait until the 2018 annual meeting to shake things up. If Loeb wants to consider nominating dissident director nominees at Honeywell, a company with a $109 billion market capitalization, he would need to submit his candidates between Dec. 25 and Jan. 24
* Kinsey Grant contributed to this report.
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