Macy’s Inc. has a new big fan. Jeff Smith of Starboard has a position in the firm. He says that he reckons the firm has about $21bn in real estate, giving the firm a total enterprise value of $29bn. Shares in the firm were trading at just over $23bn on this morning’s market.
Mr. Smith also highlighted the firm’s credit card business which he says adds $776M in Value to the firm. Starboard’s team thinks that shares in Macy’s are worth $125 per share, way ahead of the value that the market is pricing in, or the level that most of Wall Street thinks the firm can reach in the next twelve months.
Macy’s jumps on hedge fund advice
Starboard Value is a major activist hedge fund that puts pressure on management at firms in order to bring value back to the shareholders. Shares in the firm have risen by close to 300 percent in the last five years, so it’s not the kind of firm that’s normally the target for an activist.
Macy’s shares were up by more than 5 percent at time of writing to $ 70.30. The firm’s shares are now heading toward highs set back before the financial crisis. The firm’s shares hit an all time high of close to $80 back in 2006. The $125 price target that Mr. Smith set today is far above that, and far above anything long time Macy’s owners could have expected in recent years.
Mr. Smith has previously been involved in a campaign at Yahoo where he tried to convince the firm to buy rival AOL. That plan fell through earlier this year after Verizon announced it would acquire the firm.
Macy’s gets a new price target
Ambitious activists have a way of setting price targets that seem almost impossible and getting the market to chase them. The 19 Wall Street voices that are speaking out on Macy’s right now have a median price target of $68 on the firm’s shares.
The high on Wall Street right now comes in at $82, still far below the numbers that Mr. Smith volunteered today. Mr. Smith says that he will be willing to take an activist role at the firm. The main focus of his play for the firm is the value of the real estate it’s currently sitting on across the country.
Macy’s revealed on Monday that it was selling its Pittsburgh building at 400 Fifth Avenue. Hedge funds like Starboard have been connected to an activist push at Macy’s since earlier this year.