Few weeks after purchasing a significant stake in The Advisory Board Company (NASDAQ:ABCO), Elliott Management through its activist investor Paul Singer have entered into a standstill agreement with the health care company. In January, Elliott Management bought off stock amounting to $130 million in Advisory Board. This translates to around 8.3% of the total number Advisory Board stock.
Analysts had predicted that Elliott is igniting an activist battle against Advisory Board in the process. It is a common case for activist investors to purchase a big percentage of the company’s share as a way to gain an upper hand in influencing business practices. This is further cemented by adding its members to the company’s board.
Advisory Board shares have been facing troubles over the past months. At the start of 2017, Advisory Board was forced to lay off over 200 of its workers after its stock fell I pricing from $69 per share down to $36. Elliott Management bought purchased the company’s stock when it was at the lowest price. This led to an immediate raise of 16% when the news of the purchase spread in the wider investment world.
Although Singer’s move may have been prompted by the need to move and exert control over the company’s business strategies, the standstill agreement may have turned the table around and put a pause on the plan at least in the short run.
In a statement last Friday, Elliott Management Corp confirmed it had entered into the agreement with Advisory Board. Standstill agreement is meant to stop the process of total acquisition. For such an agreement to be reached, the target company should make efforts to repurchase the shares from the company seeking the takeover. The stock company may also petition the bidder to limit its stake in the company. The former situation is typically achieved by setting a larger premium on the shares that were recently bought.
It however remains unclear of what happened in the case of Elliott Management and Advisory Board. It was hoverer rumored that the Advisory Board was unhappy with the entry of Elliott Management and its motive to try and exert control on its business.