Microsoft Faces Activist Investor Pressure

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Management inside Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) may be happy to see that their shares are worth more than 3%, versus when they went home for the weekend on Friday. CNBC’s David Faber reported on Monday that the activist investor group called ValueAct has taken a $2 billion stake in the software giant. ValueAct ranks up there with names like David Einhorn, Carl Icahn and others, and its activist investor motives are often much more clear after communications have begun.

The first big question to ask is whether even ValueAct can drive change inside a company that has run itself as it sees fit for two decades. The second question to ask, and perhaps the even more important question, is whether ValueAct’s entrance here will be joined by additional activist investors who want to jump on the coattails for a ride.

Steve Ballmer has been criticized sharply for the stock doing nothing under his tenure. The rise of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) have come at a time when Microsoft faces a rapidly declining PC market. Part of that declining PC market is said to be tied to consumers not wanting Windows 8.

It is worth noting that no 13D filings have been submitted as of yet through the SEC and Edgar. Until then, we consider this a rumor, but in all fairness it is almost surprising that Microsoft has not come under more attack from activists. Note that there is a growing activist investor bubble, and if this comes out to be the case, then close to some $1 trillion worth of companies would be under the current and recent focus of the activist investor community.

Microsoft shares are up about 3.6% at $30.84 in active trading on Monday. Microsoft has a 3.1% dividend yield as of now.