Elliott Management Writes Letter to CDK Global; Sachem Head Trims CDK Stake ~ market folly

Monday, June 13, 2016

Elliott Management Writes Letter to CDK Global; Sachem Head Trims CDK Stake

Two activist investors have been active regarding their positions in CDK Global (CDK) recently:

Elliott Management Sends Letter to CDK Global

First, Paul Singer's Elliott Management has sent a letter to CDK Global.  In it, Senior Portfolio Manager Jesse Cohn outlines how they want the company to adopt the steps in the Value-Maximizing Plan 'without delay.' 

Elliott notes they've had discussions with shareholders that represent more than half of CDK's shares outstanding and many of these investors want the company to improve CDK's business operations and capital return program.

The hedge fund believes that, "Reducing product complexity will shorten product implementation times.  Enhanced leveraging of technology and automation will reduce customer response times.  Improved software version discipline will free up funds for higher overall product quality and a better customer experience as a greater proportion of R&D spend would be committed to new features rather than simply maintaining older products.  Implementing an automated contracting system will deliver a simplified, more transparent set of invoices for customers."

Elliott feels that CDK's share price should reach $81 or higher in 14 months if these steps are implemented.

You can read the full letter here.

Sachem Head Capital Trims CDK Stake

Second, Scott Ferguson's activist firm Sachem Head Capital has filed an amended 13D with the SEC regarding their CDK Global (CDK) stake.  Per the filing, Sachem now owns 6.8% of the company with 10.49 million shares. 

The filing also notes they have additional economic exposure to approximately 3.15 million shares under cash-settled total return swaps.  So their total aggregate exposure is actually 8.8% of the company with 13.65 million shares.

This means they've trimmed their position by a little over 1 million shares since the end of the first quarter.  Their trading data indicates they were selling in mid-to-late April, early May, and early June at prices ranging from $47.50 to $57.74.

Per Google Finance, CDK Global is "a provider of integrated information technology and digital marketing/advertising solutions to the automotive retail industry. The Company's segments are Automotive Retail North America (ARNA), Automotive Retail International (ARI) and Digital Marketing (DM). The Company's solutions automate workflow processes from pre-sale targeted advertising and marketing campaigns to the sale, financing, insurance, parts supply, and repair and maintenance of vehicles. Its automotive retail solutions offer technology that helps supply side of the retail value chain. It offers digital marketing solutions to enable its clients to create demand for their products by designing and managing complete digital marketing and advertising strategies for their businesses. The Company, through its DM segment, provides a suite of digital marketing solutions for original equipment manufacturers and automotive retailers, including Websites and management of their digital advertising spend.."

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