When activist investor Elliott Management first disclosed that it was buying up shares of Interpublic Group in 2014, the firm stated that it was looking for additional shareholder value. Now it appears the company has found some.
Late Friday, Elliott reported in an SEC filing that it reduced its stake in IPG and now owns 4.8% of the ad holding company, which operates McCann, FCB, Initiative and other agencies. That’s down from the 6.9% that Elliott previously disclosed owning. The company made an estimated $15.7 million profit on the sale, which included both common shares and put options.
Elliott is still a major investor in IPG—its 4.8% stake makes it the fifth largest shareholder behind Vanguard, Black Rock, Harris Associates and State Street.
Two years ago, when Elliott was buying up IPG shares it said it intended to squeeze more value out of the holding company even it had to engineer a sale of the firm.
Later, reports surfaced that it was considering nominating a separate board of directors for IPG and waging a proxy battle at company’s 2015 annual meeting.
Before that occurred the two sides brokered an agreement under which IPG agreed to add three new directors to its board (two existing members retired) with input from Elliott while the latter agreed to back the company’s full slate of directors and also agreed to a “standstill” ceiling on the number of IPG shares it would purchase in 2015. So far, the standstill agreement has not been extended to cover 2016.
A new Finance Committee was also created to address optimizing profit margins and other financial matters.
IPG declined to comment on Elliott’s stock sale and Elliott officials couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
In late Monday afternoon trading IPG was up 10 cents from its previous close to $21.24.