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Activist Stocks

Tom Sandell's found the next Jarden Corp?

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Tom Sandell of Sandell Asset Management is back at it, targeting Viavi Solutions (NASDAQ: VIAV) the $1.3 billion market cap network service solutions provider for the telecommunications space.

The company was a small position for Sandell in 2Q - owning 1.4 percent of the company. He increased his stake fourfold and now owns 5.5 percent. The interesting thing is that this is now his second-largest equity holding, behind Bob Evans and ahead of Brookdale Senior Living.

Per Sandell's letter [here], he has some demands to help get the company back on track, including:

  • Refreshing and materially enhancing the quality of Viavi’s Board of Directors;
  • Conducting a thorough review of strategic alternatives;
  • Retaining an independent financial advisor and operational consulting firm; and
  • Identifying a new management team with the experience necessary to maximize the value of the Company’s deferred tax assets, which include its $4 billion to $4.5 billion of federal net operating losses (NOLs).

The big standouts are monetizing its NOLs and a strategic review to get the company sold - in that case the value is $10 to a buyer or $12 if it using its NOLs (effectively becoming a platform company). Sandell cites examples of platform companies as Jarden Corporation (NYSE: JAH), Platform Specialty Products Corporation (NYSE: PAH), and Nomad Foods Limited (LSE: NHL).

The key, though, is to get a CEO that can Viavi into a platform company - something he thinks he can help with. 

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