The fight is on at 3-D movie technology provider RealD. The company says that its board has “unanimously determined not to pursue” a $600 million unsolicited offer from Jeffrey Smith’s activist hedge fund Starboard Value. RealD directors “believe the value of its business will benefit from the strength of its cinema platform and upcoming film slate, the value inherent in its IP portfolio, and the changes being made to further reduce operating expenses and capital expenditures,” it says in a just-released quarterly earnings report.
CEO Michael Lewis added that the company is “in the process of taking additional steps designed to enhance shareholder value.” That could include a restructuring of its R&D efforts and “a further streamlining of our organization and efficiencies in our cost structure.”
Smith – who already owns 9.9% of the voting shares – indicated last week, in a letter to Lewis, that he’s ready to do battle. Starboard “expressed its disappointment” that RealD hadn’t “shown any willingness to engage with Starboard” about its $12 a share offer, it said in a summary of the letter filed at the SEC. The hedge fund also “reaffirmed its desire and ability to own” RealD and said that it “has reserved all of its rights to take any action” to buy it.
RealD beat Wall Street expectations in its earning report for the quarter that ended in September. Its net loss improved to $1.57 million from a loss of $4.65 million in the period last year, on revenues of $47.4 million, +7.9%. Analysts expected revenues to come in at $45.2 million. Its net loss at 3 cents a share also beat forecasts for a 6 cent loss. RealD shares closed today at $11.61, +23.9% from before Starboard’s offer.