August 13, 2012
Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of automotive supplier Visteon (NYSE: VC ) climbed as much as 11% today after the company announced that chairman and CEO Don Stebbins had resigned, and two new directors had come on to the board. Director Tim Leuliette has replaced Stebbins as interim chairman and CEO.
So what: This kind of response to a leader stepping down is generally a sign of a company in distress, and Visteon is no different. The stock had fallen 50% since its IPO less than two years ago, and investors have been hankering for a breakup in the company that could unlock value in its investments in two Asian auto suppliers. Previous instability in the board has indicated a debate over the strategic direction of the company.
Now what: Investing on speculation of a breakup is always risky, but it can pay off. Visteon's CFO had been ousted last October, and rumors of splitting up the company have been swirling ever since. Management has insisted that its four business segments are closely intertwined, making a breakup unfeasible, but some analysts estimate the value of its investments in Halla Climate Control and Yanfeng Visteon Automotive Trim Systems to be between $3 billion and $4 billion. Meanwhile, the entire market cap of Visteon is just $2.25 billion.
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