The ADT Corp. reported yesterday that it was buying back 10.24 million of the shares of its third-largest shareholder, Corvex Management. Keith Meister, the hedge fund’s founder, who had been on ADT’s board since late 2012, also announced his resignation as director.
ADT’s stock price plunged early yesterday morning shortly after the news and while it recovered somewhat, was still down .59 percent this afternoon.
Meister said in a prepared statement, “We initially invested in ADT because of its leading market position and its potential for creating long-term shareholder value. The board and management have achieved admirable results over the past year.”
Now, Corvex will have less than 1 million shares in ADT, The Wall Street Journal reported. The WSJ said ADT bought Corvex’s shares at $44.01 each, so Corvex got a return of about 20 percent on its investment.
What does it all mean? A WSJ report yesterday sheds some light:
Within weeks of ADT's debut as a public company in October 2012, Corvex began pushing the company to buy back 30 percent of its stock with borrowed money. The hedge fund at that time said the stock was worth at least $61.
Corvex criticized ADT's conservative approach to debt, calling the company's capital structure "indefensible" during a presentation that accompanied Corvex's disclosure of a 5 percent stake in ADT at the time.
ADT's board has followed much of Corvex's strategy, including financing stock purchases with debt. The company recently announced that it will accelerate the purchase of $400 million of stock under an agreement with J.P. Morgan Chase. Once the purchase of the Corvex shares is completed, the Boca Raton, Fla., company will have spent $2.4 billion to retire about 20 percent of its stock.