April 25, 2016

Open Letters to Management: A Waste of Time?

Here’s the intro for this blog from “The Activist Investor”:

About once a month, a PM calls us about some company, wanting to talk about the prospects for an activist project. We review the financials and the filings. Often we suggest the shareholder just move on – the business isn’t worth trying to turn around, or the board and management are too entrenched. Sometimes we suggest a plan. Once in awhile we move ahead with it.

Occasionally, and more often after we suggest moving on, the PM wants to write a strongly-worded letter to the BoD chair and the CEO. Confidence about the investment thesis and frustration about the current results and share price yields a long, detailed, and lively manifesto, an “open letter” to the board, management, and other shareholders.

At a minimum, this is a waste of time, energy, and money. Worse, it betrays a certain naive ignorance about activist investing.