Investors in ADT keenly remember the results of Keith Meister’s stewardship of their company, summarized here in our February newsletter. Keith Meister, who runs Corvex Management, LP, invested in ADT, made a forceful case for the stock being undervalued and took a board seat. With the benefit of information garnered in that role he one day exited his position, humiliating ADT’s guileless CEO in the process by persuading him to repurchase Corvex’s stake at a price it has never subsequently seen. Today ADT trades at less than half the price Corvex assessed it to be worth less than two years ago.
Williams Companies (WMB), today welcomes Keith Meister and an affiliated investor Eric Mandelblatt (manager of Soroban Master Fund, LP) on to their board. Corvex had recently disclosed along with Soroban ownership of around 10%% of WMB (including options). WMB investors (ourselves included, for we have owned WMB since well before Corvex’s announced involvement) are now wondering whether (or perhaps, when) Corvex will “pull an ADT” and use their vantage point on the board to time their exit. For nobody should assume they are long term investors. Striving for long term capital gains tax treatment is not an issue for an offshore hedge fund.
In the ADT movie, achieving a board seat was a step in the elaborate dance between Meister and Gursahaney (ADT’s hapless CEO) that ultimately ended with Corvex’s abrupt loss of love for the company. As a WMB investor, we liked the company before Corvex showed up, and think perhaps we might be better served if he had focused elsewhere. Given Corvex’s history, WMB’s stock today is weaker as investors price in a modest “Corvex Discount”, the price concession necessary to reflect the inclusion on WMB’s board of one who does not accept a fiduciary obligation to all the shareholders of WMB, but only the investors in Corvex.
We think WMB is a good investment. We now have to include an assessment of when Corvex will switch dance partners and whether his moves will ultimately be value destroying (as they were for ADT when the company vastly overpaid to buy back its stock). Much depends on whether WMB’s CEO Alan Armstrong is a good poker player, for his skills will at some point be on display through the company’s public moves with their new best friend activist investor. We are, for now, partners with Corvex. WMB remains an attractively priced investment. But we are listening carefully for the music to stop and counting the remaining chairs. This is what investing is like when an activist shows up.
The information provided is for informational purposes only and investors should determine for themselves whether a particular service, security or product is suitable for their investment needs. The information contained herein is not complete, may not be current, is subject to change, and is subject to, and qualified in its entirety by, the more complete disclosures, risk factors and other terms that are contained in the disclosure, prospectus, and offering. Certain information herein has been obtained from third party sources and, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified and its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. No representation is made with respect to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of this information. Nothing provided on this site constitutes tax advice. Individuals should seek the advice of their own tax advisor for specific information regarding tax consequences of investments. Investments in securities entail risk and are not suitable for all investors. This site is not a recommendation nor an offer to sell (or solicitation of an offer to buy) securities in the United States or in any other jurisdiction.
References to indexes and benchmarks are hypothetical illustrations of aggregate returns and do not reflect the performance of any actual investment. Investors cannot invest in an index and do not reflect the deduction of the advisor’s fees or other trading expenses. There can be no assurance that current investments will be profitable. Actual realized returns will depend on, among other factors, the value of assets and market conditions at the time of disposition, any related transaction costs, and the timing of the purchase. Indexes and benchmarks may not directly correlate or only partially relate to portfolios managed by SL Advisors as they have different underlying investments and may use different strategies or have different objectives than portfolios managed by SL Advisors (e.g. The Alerian index is a group MLP securities in the oil and gas industries. Portfolios may not include the same investments that are included in the Alerian Index. The S & P Index does not directly relate to investment strategies managed by SL Advisers.)
This site may contain forward-looking statements relating to the objectives, opportunities, and the future performance of the U.S. market generally. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of such words as; “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “should,” “planned,” “estimated,” “potential” and other similar terms. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, estimates with respect to financial condition, results of operations, and success or lack of success of any particular investment strategy. All are subject to various factors, including, but not limited to general and local economic conditions, changing levels of competition within certain industries and markets, changes in interest rates, changes in legislation or regulation, and other economic, competitive, governmental, regulatory and technological factors affecting a portfolio’s operations that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Such statements are forward-looking in nature and involves a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and accordingly, actual results may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such forward-looking statements. Prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or examples. None of SL Advisors LLC or any of its affiliates or principals nor any other individual or entity assumes any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, subsequent events or any other circumstances. All statements made herein speak only as of the date that they were made. r
Certain hyperlinks or referenced websites on the Site, if any, are for your convenience and forward you to third parties’ websites, which generally are recognized by their top level domain name. Any descriptions of, references to, or links to other products, publications or services does not constitute an endorsement, authorization, sponsorship by or affiliation with SL Advisors LLC with respect to any linked site or its sponsor, unless expressly stated by SL Advisors LLC. Any such information, products or sites have not necessarily been reviewed by SL Advisors LLC and are provided or maintained by third parties over whom SL Advisors LLC exercise no control. SL Advisors LLC expressly disclaim any responsibility for the content, the accuracy of the information, and/or quality of products or services provided by or advertised on these third-party sites.
All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be suitable or profitable for a client’s investment portfolio.
Past performance of the American Energy Independence Index is not indicative of future returns.