Five Activist Hedge Fund Battles To Watch In 2015

Jan 20 2015 | 6:22am ET

Bill Ackman, Carl Icahn, and Eddie Lampert made headlines in 2014.

Love them, hate them, or fear them (as many board members and CEOs do), activist investors will continue to wield immense influence in 2015.

Here’s are five key battles to watch in the coming months.

Starboard and Ironfire Capital vs. Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO)

For the second time since September, activist hedge fund firm Starboard Value has send a letter to Yahoo! Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer urging her to consider a merger with AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL).

News of the activist push sent AOL stock up more than 5%. In the letter, Starboard reiterated its position that a merger benefits both companies. Starboard holds sizeable positions in both Yahoo! and AOL.

Starboard argues that Yahoo could save more than $1 billion in business costs. It also believes Yahoo could boost its mobile and video marketing platforms by acquiring AOL. A Yahoo!-AOL merger would create a digital media company that could better compete against rivals Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB).

Starboard reminded Mayer that the money Yahoo! earned from its stake in Alibaba Holding Group Ltd. belongs to its shareholders. Yahoo! earned more than $5 billion when the Chinese e-commerce giant went public and its share of Alibaba stock soared.

Starboard and many other investors want to see that money put to use.

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