Find a Deal for Starboard Value

Why this project:

You’ll be putting everything you’ve learned about Finance into one project.

Career-wise, an activist hedge fund like Starboard would prove to be a very interesting company to work for (if you can get in the door). If you understand the company’s methodologies, it will increase the odds of getting hired.

Even if you don’t join an activist hedge fund company, being able to find great investment opportunities “diamonds in the rough” can be used almost anywhere (i.e. potential M & A candidate, investment in a company, stock pick, etc.)


Here’s the assignment:

Research and discuss the Starboard’s criteria and methodology. (I have included links in this folder for your perusal.) How do they select a company? What are its criteria? How do they go about their process of exerting control over the company?

You are a Senior Analyst working there. Find and investigate a potential company you think would be a suitable target for Starboard. What characteristics make the target company a good candidate based on your research? Conversely, what might make them not such a good candidate?

Assuming you gained a strong position in the company’s equity, what problems do you see with the company that needs to be overcome? What corrective actions would you suggest the company make?

The formal paper outlining your findings is due in Week 8 as your final exam. There is also a discussion board where you will share highlights from your report with the class.

Starboard Value’s Methodologies

The following are selected links that outline Starboard’s Investment methodologies:

How Starboard Value, the hedge fund trying to dismantle Yahoo’s board, has shaken up Corporate America

https://qz.com/647975/how-starboard-value-the-hedge-fund-trying-to-dismantle-yahoos-board-has-shaken-up-corporate-america/

Starboard Value’s Jeff Smith: The investor CEOs fear most

Check out this very detailed article on Starboard Value and Jeff Smith, CEO.

Starboard’s website

Starboard Value LP is a New York-based investment adviser with a focused and fundamental approach to investing in publicly traded U.S. companies. Starboard seeks to invest in deeply undervalued companies and actively engage with management teams and boards of directors to identify and execute on opportunities to unlock value for the benefit of all shareholders.

Starboard’s principals have managed investments in this manner since 2002.

You can read more about the company on their website. Make sure to check the biographies of senior management.

WSJ Articles

Activist Starboard Value Buys 9.9% Stake in Cars.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/activist-starboard-value-buys-9-9-stake-in-cars-com-1513636271

Activist investor Starboard Value LP bought a 9.9% stake in Cars.com Inc. CARS +1.81% on the belief the stock is undervalued by a market that is betting heavily against it and ignoring the potential for a sale.

 

Starboard sees potential for the online auto marketplace to boost margins when it no longer has to share a large portion of its sales with the media companies that once controlled it, according to people familiar with the matter.

 

The New York hedge fund, known for taking stakes and pushing for change at companies including Yahoo and Darden Restaurants Inc., DRI -0.33% also sees the potential for Cars.com to be sold to a private-equity firm, the people added…

 

How a Shareholder Coup at Olive Garden’s Owner Sparked a Turnaround

https://www.wsj.com/articles/activists-reap-olive-garden-bounty-1459902161

This article details the turnaround experienced by Olive Garden, partially thanks to activist hedge fund Starboard Value. Please read this article for a background on how it went down.

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