| Activist investing

Activist investing strategy: Track post activism changes

by | Oct 11, 2019

We track all SEC filings of companies for roughly 10 months after an activist has initiated a stake. We monitor 250 companies and flag those that make significant changes.

Why do we track?

Firstly, given the fact that a significant number of 13D filings are filed by first-time filers or those with little or no track record, many buy-side professionals will bypass the stock because they are unsure of how the company will benefit simply because a newbie activist has filed a 13D. By tracking significant changes that companies implement after the involvement of an activist, we can identify companies that are making changes irrespective of the track record of the activist investor.

Secondly, it increases our level of conviction. Instead of buying a stock in anticipation that activists will push for changes, the “wait and watch” approach helps to effectively identify companies that are listening to their activist investors.

iCAD

On October 09, 2018, Andy Sassine, an existing director with no activism history, filed a 13D in iCAD. In fact, that is the only 13D he has filed, to date. Typically, investors would skip the stock, but we started tracking it, as we do with many other companies.

In November 13, 2018, the company appointed a representative of Andy Sassine as interim CEO, and the company announced that it would be cutting costs, cutting its cash burn, and would focus on its core business. We flagged the stock immediately.

On November 13, 2018, the stock price was $2.81. Now, the stock is trading at $6.60.

So, what is the key take away? Tracking stocks AFTER the filing of a 13D can be a tremendous advantage.

Anyway, we published the following report in November 2018.

Basics

  • M. Cap: $109 million
  • iCAD Inc. is a provider of advanced image analysis, workflow solutions, and radiation therapy for the early identification and treatment of cancer.

 Activist summary

Andy H. Sassine (non-13F filer):  Ownership: 7.6% (DEF 14A dated Nov 20, 2018)

This is a peculiar situation – the entire board change is triggered by Andy H. Sassine, a director who owns 7.5%.

(a) Total board change: In September 2018, Mr. Sassine resigned from the board expressing his concerns regarding the board members. Subsequently, the company re-appointed him to the board, and three more of his representatives also joined the board. As of now, all incumbent directors have resigned, and the size of the board has been reduced to five. As such, four of the five directors are representatives of Mr. Sassine (one board seat is yet to be filled).

(b) New CEO and new strategy: On November 13, 2018, the company’s CEO resigned and Mr. Klein was appointed interim CEO. Mr. Klein, a representative of Mr. Sassine, outlined the focus areas. These included: a) Focus on core-business; b) Reduce expenses; c) Reduce cash burn; and d) New product update: the company is preparing for the receipt of FDA clearance for its new AI product for digital breast tomosynthesis. The current model is limited to GE systems, whereas, the new product is expected to be available on systems from all major suppliers, creating a much larger addressable market.

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