Monday, December 23, 2013

Starboard Value Goes Activist on Darden Restaurants (DRI) Too

Another activist has joined the Darden Restaurants (DRI) fight.  Jeffrey Smith's Starboard Value LP has disclosed a 5.55% stake in DRI with 7,250,000 shares via an activist 13D filing.

Last week, we highlighted Barington Capital's presentation on Darden Restaurants (DRI) where they called for the company to split up.  The company responded by announcing plans to spin off its Red Lobster chain. Now another activist is on the scene.

This is a brand new investment for Starboard.  They've engaged management in discussions and feel the announced plan doesn't maximize shareholder value.  Smith's 13D says,

"Specifically, Starboard believes there is a significant opportunity to dramatically improve the operating performance at the Issuer, as well as opportunities to realize substantial value from the Issuer’s real estate holdings and to explore other strategic options available to the Issuer to maximize shareholder value, including alternative business sale or separation transactions."

The company operates restaurants such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Yard House, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, and Eddie V's Prime Seafood.

For more on Starboard, see Jeff Smith's presentation on Wausau Paper.

Blue Ridge Capital Starts PBF Energy Stake

John Griffin's hedge fund firm Blue Ridge Capital filed a 13G with the SEC on shares of PBF Energy (PBF).  Per the filing, the hedge fund now shows a 7.82% ownership stake in the company with 3,095,000 shares.

This is a brand new position for Blue Ridge as they did not own a stake as of the end of the third quarter.  The filing was required due to portfolio activity on December 10th.

Per Google Finance, PBF Energy is "an independent petroleum refiners and suppliers of unbranded transportation fuels, heating oils, petrochemical feedstocks, lubricants and other petroleum products in the United States. The Company produces a range of products at each of its refineries, including gasoline, ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD), heating oil, jet fuel, lubricants, petrochemicals and asphalt. The Company sells its products throughout the Northeast and Midwest of the United States, as well as in other regions of the United States and Canada, and are able to ship products to other international destinations."

You can view additional recent portfolio activity from Blue Ridge here.

Perry Capital Trims North American Energy Partners Position Again

Richard Perry's hedge fund firm Perry Capital has filed an amended 13D with the SEC regarding its position in North American Energy Partners (NOA).  Per the filing, Perry has disclosed a 4.75% ownership stake in NOA with 1,726,968 shares.

This marks around a 62% reduction in their position size as they've sold over 2.8 million shares since the end of the third quarter.  The filing indicates they sold shares at a price of $6 per share on December 19th.

This is also the second time they've trimmed their stake, as we highlighted Perry's NOA sales back in late October.

Per Google Finance, North American Energy Partners "provides a range of heavy construction and mining and pipeline installation services to customers in the Canadian oil sands, industrial construction, commercial and public construction and pipeline construction markets. The Company’s primary market is the Canadian oil sands, where it supports the customers’ mining operations and capital projects. NAEPI provides services through all stages of an oil sands project’s lifecycle, its core focus is on providing recurring services, such as contract mining, during the operational phase."