Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bartering for Activism.

In one of the more interesting activist campaigns as of late, The Committee to Enhance ITEX has basically told ITEX management "We don't need you."

This is an interesting situation that has arisen. When I first saw that The Polonitza Group was launching a proxy fight for not a fraction of, but all of the board seats, my initial question was "Well, they are right in most all of their criticisms of the company, but, what if they win? Will Steve White leave with his tail between his legs? If so, what will they do?"

Certainly, in the event that a CEO is ousted from the board, it will create a lot of distention in the company. Furthermore, what would the franchisees think? This is the sort of press release that was needed, as I am sure that a lot of people involved in the company had the same question that I did.

Now, it seems that the hard part here, is convincing people that they can make ITEX significantly better. In this case, you have a company that is doing well, but can do so much more. With a company like Steak 'n Shake (now, Biglari Holdings), the case was obvious, as it was on the verge of bankruptcy... ITEX has a great business model, is has a super nice balance sheet, and quite frankly, is a company that about anyone would want to own outright.

As has almost always been the case in the past, I am quite sympathetic to the cause of these activists and sincerely wish them the best of luck in their endeavors. Really, the whole slate of candidates seem pretty darned impressive.

I look forward to seeing more press releases. I look forward to seeing if things get as nasty (and interesting) as it did a few years ago when Sardar Biglari tried to buy the whole company. I look forward to seeing who wins and, more importantly, what happens to the price of the company!

Disclosure: Long Biglari Holdings. This is not investment advice. Always do your own research when thinking about doing anything that I think, talk, or write about.

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