Exclusive: TransCanada eyed by U.S. investor activists - sources
By Nadia Damouni, Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Euan Rocha
NEW YORK/TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada, which has seen a fair share of U.S. activist investors cross the border in the last years, may soon have more of them knocking on its door.
Calgary-based TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO: Quote) is emerging as a possible target, with several U.S. activist hedge funds reviewing the nearly $38 billion pipeline operator as a break-up candidate, people close to the matter said.
Discussions about a potential campaign are still in the early stages, but some of TransCanada's largest shareholders have been contacted by hedge funds interested in shaking up one of North America's biggest pipeline companies, the people said.
These actions have also led to discussions by the TransCanada board surrounding the company's strategic direction, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.
TransCanada, citing a company policy not to comment on rumors, said only that it is committed to acting in the best interests of shareholders.
"The enhancement of shareholder value is discussed at every meeting of TransCanada's board of directors," spokesman Shawn Howard said, adding "TransCanada has a well-defined strategic plan in place to increase long-term shareholder value and we are focused on continuing to deliver on this plan successfully."
In June, Citigroup analyst Faisel Khan laid out the case for a break-up, saying that measures including spinning off TransCanada's power business and placement of the remainder of its U.S. natural gas assets into a master limited partnership (MLP).
That could boost TransCanada's share price to C$76, Khan said. The company's shares ended regular trading On Thursday up C$1.95, or 3.3 percent, at C$60.81 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Continued...