"Thanks, but no thanks."
That's what Angie's List (NASDAQ:ANGI) is telling IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IAC). In short, Angie's own turnaround efforts are just getting started, and shareholders would lose out if they accepted IAC's buyout offer of $8.75 per share right now, with so much potential value just waiting to be discovered.
Angie's List CEO Scott Durchslag pointed out that he has only been on the job since September, and that the company is working up a path toward profitability that just isn't ready for disclosure quite yet. "The Board believes that it should have the opportunity to fully evaluate our Profitable Growth Plan and should share that plan with shareholders before reaching a decision as to whether to engage in a transaction with IAC or any other party," Durchslag said in a press statement.
And that's where the verbal fencing match starts.
It is, of course, in Durchslag's best interests and fiduciary duty to make his company look as valuable as possible. A high buyout price would serve his shareholders better, so he's arguing that the current offer is too low and too opportunistic.
"The proposal represented only a 10% premium at the time it was made," he said.
Moreover, share prices have been moving in the right direction to support his argument:
The positive reception we are receiving from members and service providers to our new offerings gives us confidence that we are heading in the right direction.
The market also appears to share our enthusiasm as the Company's stock price increased 11% on the day we announced our third quarter results and previewed some elements of our Profitable Growth Plan, and has increased 27% from that day through market close on November 11, prior to when IAC publicly announced its proposal.
That's not at all how IAC's management sees it, though.
"The IAC all-cash proposal represents a premium of greater than 50% over the unaffected price of Angie's List common stock as of October 12, 2015," according to the offer announcement. October 12 was the day before major Angie's List shareholder TCS Capital sent a letter to the company's board, asking it to consider buyout proposals.
So each company is cherry-picking sampling dates to present Angie's List's value in diametrically opposite lights. Perfectly normal negotiating tactics, and the exchange will most likely continue like this for a while longer.
In my view, the IAC offer sits roughly 40% above the $6.25 range where Angie's List recently spent six blissfully stable months. That period was punctuated by a mixed second-quarter report, steeped in slowing sales growth. Shares fell 20% the next day, setting the table for IAC's buyout ambitions.
The next step, according to Durchslag and his team, is to wait for more detail on the Profitable Growth Plan (catchy name, eh?) on the company's upcoming investor day. I can't find a firm date for that event, but that announcement must be around the corner. Meanwhile, Angie's List shares plunged on this news -- but still traded above IAC's proposed buyout price.
Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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