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The Morning Brief: Feisty Lee Cooperman Takes on Ackman

Omega Advisors founder Leon Cooperman took a swipe at Bill Ackman’s activist campaign against Automatic Data Processing.

  • By Stephen Taub

Omega Advisors founder Leon Cooperman took a swipe at Bill Ackman’s recently announced activist campaign against Automatic Data Processing. In an interview Monday on CNBC, the septuagenarian stock picker called Ackman’s plan “foolish” and “not merited by the facts,” according to a Bloomberg news report. Keep in mind that Cooperman served on ADP’s board of directors for 20 years until 2012. “This is something I happen to know quite a bit about and he’s dead wrong,” Cooperman said. He also praised both the company and its chief executive, Carlos Rodriguez. The hedge fund manager also agreed with ADP’s refusal to extend the deadline for submitting director nominees. “If he is such a long-term investor he should have got his materials to the company before the period closed,” Cooperman said in the interview.

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The date of the merger of two hedge fund favorites has been set: DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company said their merger will be completed after the market closes on August 31 as they’ve received all required regulatory approvals and clearances. Dow and DuPont announced their merger agreement in December 2015. Shares of DowDuPont will trade on the NYSE under the stock ticker “DWDP.” The companies expect three planned spin-offs will take place within 18 months of closing the merger.

Earlier this year, activist Dan Loeb of Third Point called on the two companies to create six companies after the deal is completed, claiming this would create an additional $20 billion in value. “Dow and DuPont have one chance to fully optimize shareholder value from the merger,” Third Point said in its presentation. At the end of the first quarter Dow was Third Point’s second largest equity long.

In June, Glenview Capital also called on the two chemical giants to make changes to their deal. At the time, Dow was Glenview’s fourth largest U.S. long. According to The Wall Street Journal at the time, Glenview in June told investors it owned $1 billion worth of Dow stock, roughly the value of Third Point’s stake. Back in 2015, Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management lost its proxy fight with DuPont. At the end of the first quarter, Trian was the eleventh largest shareholder of DuPont. The stock was the fourth largest long of quant firm Two Sigma and the sixth largest long of OZ Management.

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Coatue Management led the $280 million Series D financing of Auris Surgical Robotics, which makes surgical robots, according to techcrunch.com. This is at least Coatue’s eighth’s investment in a private company since March.

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