This content is from: Portfolio

The Morning Brief: Activist Chapman Challenges Ackman on Herbalife

A long-time activist investor is taking on fellow activist Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management. Robert Chapman of Chapman Capital has fired off a seven-page letter explaining why he thinks Ackman’s short bet on Herbalife will backfire. Noting that he now owns 35 percent of the stock, Chapman writes: "Despite beguiling and specious reasoning, Ackman will fail to influence/cause a material regulator response or a HLF distributor exodus. Consequently, he will suffer a merciless short squeeze, catalyzed and augmented by a fast and furious combination of HLF share count shrinkage (buyback) and excellent operating performance (beat and raise dynamic.)" Stand by for this one.

Stifel Nicolaus raised its price target on the stock of travel website and hedge fund favorite Trip Advisor, from $44 to $50. The investment bank cites several factors for its increased optimism, including recent acquisitions by Priceline and Expedia, which it says underscores the strong interest in travel media companies. Stifel also is encouraged that Liberty Interactive boosted its stake in the company and now owns 22 percent of the equity and 57.1 percent of total votes of all class of stock.

Eddie Lampert’s ESL Investments has tapped G. Mike Mikan as president, effective January 1. Mikan immediately resigned from the board of directors of Best Buy. You may recall he was the guy who served as interim CEO of the electronics retailer from April 2012 until September 2012 after his predecessor Brian Dunn was embroiled in a scandal involving a female former employee.

Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital disclosed it owns 5 percent of restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings. The investment was made in a 13G filing, meaning it is of a passive nature.

In an interview with CNBC, Omega Advisors founder Leon Cooperman said stocks are in a zone of being fairly valued to modestly undervalued and that he expects equities to climb 10 percent this year. Not bad considering that exceeds the long-term annualized return for equities.

Follow Stephen Taub on Twitter @stephentaub

Related Content