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In the News


Air Methods Sells Out Under Pressure From Voce

The Street

Buyout shop American Securities agreed to acquire the emergency medical helicopter company in a deal that comes after almost two years of sale pressure by an activist at the gate. Air Methods (AIRM) on Tuesday agreed to be acquired by buyout shop American Securities in a $2.5 billion deal that was struck as the emergency medical helicopter company's board faced an imminent director-election proxy fight launched by an activist hedge fund manager who had been publicly pushing for a sale since 2015.


Private equity firm buying Air Methods for $2.5 billion

Denver Business Journal

Colorado-based air ambulance company Air Methods Corp. is being purchased in a $2.5 billion deal. The Centennial Airport-based company (NYSE: AIRM) said New York-based private equity firm American Securities LLC has offered $43 per share for the company, slightly above the company's Monday closing price of $41.40. The deal includes acquiring Air Methods' net debt.


Air Methods bought out for $2.5 billion


The medical helicopter company Air Methods has caved in to an activist investor, agreeing Tuesday to be acquired by the private equity firm American Securities. The numbers: American Securities is paying $43 per share for Air Methods, which has nearly 500 helicopters and airplanes mostly used to transport sick and injured people to hospitals. Including debt, the buyout is worth $2.5 billion.


Big shareholder, Air Methods squabble over board's competency

Denver Business Journal

Voce detailed its concerns in a Wednesday letter, saying "urgent change is needed to reverse multi-year trend of value destruction," "Air Methods’ board lacks credible plan to create stockholder value," and "current Board (is) over-tenured, under-skilled and mis-aligned."


Activist Investor Seeks Four Board Seats as Air Methods Explores Sale

The Wall Street Journal

An activist investor is seeking to take over half the board of Air Methods Corp., putting pressure on the medical helicopter company as it explores a sale. Voce Capital Management LLC on Wednesday launched a fight for four board seats, criticizing the company’s lackluster returns and “a multi-year syndrome of operational, strategic and governance...


Voce Starts Proxy Fight With Air Methods, Nominating 4 Directors


Voce Capital Management, the activist hedge fund that revived its campaign at Air Methods Corp. last month, nominated four directors to the company’s board. San Francisco-based Voce, led by J. Daniel Plants, said Wednesday in a statement that the nominations follow its January letter to the provider of medical air transport, which it says went unanswered.


Voce nominates its founder, three others to Air Methods board


Activist hedge fund Voce Capital Management LLC nominated on Wednesday four candidates, including its founder and managing partner, for election to Air Methods Corp's board, as part of efforts to turnaround the medical helicopter company. Voce, which has held a stake since 2011 and has long advocated Air Methods sell itself, threatened on Jan. 30 to start a proxy war.


Voce Capital Nominates Four Air Methods Directors


Voce Capital Management LLC (“Voce”), one of the largest and most committed long-term stockholders of Air Methods Corporation (“Air Methods” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: AIRM), today announced that it has nominated four highly-qualified, independent candidates (the “Nominees”) for election to the Board of Directors at the Company’s 2017 Annual Meeting. The nominations follow Voce’s unanswered, detailed letter to the Board last month outlining Voce’s concerns.


Medical Helicopter Company Air Methods Exploring a Sale


Pressure to sell the company is said to be led by shareholder Voce Capital Management, a hedge fund. Earlier this month, Voce threatened to launch a proxy war to gain more control over Air Methods. Any sale of the company would be expected to produce a price substantially more than its $1.4 billion market capitalization at the end of January.


Medical Helicopter Company Air Methods Exploring a Sale

The Wall Street Journal

Medical-helicopter company Air Methods Corp. is exploring a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter. The Englewood, Colo.-based company is working with bankers to sound out potential buyers, the people said.


Activist investor Voce threatens proxy war at Air Methods


Activist hedge fund Voce Capital Management LLC on Monday threatened it would start a proxy war at Air Methods Corp, saying the U.S. medical helicopter company needed an urgent change of directors and strategy.


Voce Revives Air Methods Activist Campaign as Cooperation Fails


J. Daniel Plants’ Voce Capital Management is reviving its activist campaign at Air Methods Corp. as a cooperation agreement comes to an end, citing continued frustration with the board of the air medical-transport provider.


Voce Capital Sends Letter to Air Methods Corporation


Voce Capital Management LLC, one of the largest and most committed long-term stockholders of Air Methods Corporation, today sent a letter to the Board of Directors of Air Methods. In the letter, Voce outlines its view that urgent change is needed to reverse Air Methods’ dismal underperformance and to unlock stockholder value.


Activist Investor Presses Rudolph Technologies, Nanometrics to Merge

The Wall Street Journal

An activist investor is pressing semiconductor-equipment makers Rudolph Technologies Inc. and Nanometrics Inc. to merge, saying the two would be stronger together. In a letter to investors Thursday, Voce Capital Management LLC said a combination of Rudolph and Nanometrics would lead to cost-cutting and revenue growth through cross-selling to each other’s customers.


The Morning Brief: Hedge Funds’ Formula for Success

Institutional Investor

November was a strong month for activist managers, and this includes even the very small ones. For example, Voce Capital, which has about $120 million under management, surged 11 percent last month, its best month ever. This put the San Francisco firm, headed by Dan Plants, very close to the break¬even point, down 0.83 percent for the year. November results were led by its two largest positions: Cutera, a cosmetic laser company, and Air Methods, a helicopter operator.


Activist Investors Swarming Biopharmaceuticals: Good for Business?

FTI Journal

J. Daniel Plants: "One of the things that we’ve always done when we run a proxy contest is to require nominees to buy company stock with their personal assets. Nominees ask me, "How much do you want me to buy?" That’s their affair; I just say make an investment that's meaningful to you. But I think some demonstration of personal commitment is important. Almost as important to me is if they’re consistently selling company stock. Independent directors should not sell company stock. Period. If they have a change in life status – a divorce, or they have a health problem, or whatever – and they have to tap into those funds, they should just get off the board. If you see independent directors selling stock, that's a red flag. It's not acceptable."


Voce Turns Five: A Voice for Value

The Hedge Fund Journal

Voce Capital Management’s strategy is distinguished from other activist managers principally in that its founder, J. Daniel Plants, is a long term value investor who engages with all investee companies, but uses public activism (dubbed ‘vocal’ positions) more selectively....This distinctive approach is working: Voce has passed its five year anniversary, and all four books – long, short, active, and passive – have made positive absolute profits. The strategy has profited in every calendar year, annualised in excess of 10% per annum....Plants has no desire to diversify into credit, real estate or any other asset classes or strategies. “We’re one team, one firm and one strategy,” he summarises. “Our sharp focus has always been the key to Voce’s success, and that will not change.”


When a PM Joins a BoD, It’s a Big Deal


We have long advocated for a PM to join the Board of Directors of a portfolio company. Just this year, Dan Plants (CEO of Voce Capital) [became a] nominee at FBR, not the first time [he] has sought or accepted a BoD seat at a portfolio company....Watch, then, when a PM decides to serve on a BoD, or even serve as a nominee for a slate. Even better, among the companies in a fund portfolio, watch which ones earn a PMs’ service as a director. If those merit his or her time, energy, and attention, they probably merit yours, too.


The Activist Perspective

IR Update

[Voce Capital's J. Daniel] Plants observes "We are not changing our strategy. Some people think activism is a ‘bull market strategy,’ but we don’t agree. Perhaps it is for purely ‘event-driven’ activists, but for long-term investors who are active in every one of our investments, there are strategies to create shareholder value at all points in the cycle. For example, refocusing operations or eliminating unproductive investments can make a lot of sense during uncertain economic times. That may not lead to a quick stock price pop, but that’s never been our objective. We focus on creating long-term value for all shareholders.”...Change does not happen overnight, and Plants’ comments highlight this point: “We are a long-term investor that uses public activism selectively and usually as a last resort. We focus on strategic and financial issues that we believe will unlock substantial value. We are fine if that takes quarters or even years, as long as the rewards are commensurate with the time and the risks involved in realizing them."


Daniel Plants' fund returns 5% as other activists investors struggle

The Street

Daniel Plants' activist fund Voce Capital Management LLC appreciated 5.2% in 2015, beating out the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 and a whole host of much larger activist managers.


Voce Capital's Plants on the Misperception Regarding Investor Activism

Bloomberg Brief

J. Daniel Plants, founder and chief investment officer of Voce Capital Management, spoke to Bloomberg's Hema Parmar about the road ahead for activist fund managers. Plants says there's a misperception that investor activism is a bull market strategy, and that a better time to repurchase shares is when times are tough and markets are down.


Voce Capital Management Adds Industry Veterans to Senior Executive Team


Activist hedge fund Voce Capital Management has added two industry veterans to its executive team as the five-year old firm continues to grow.


Conflict of Interests

Activist Insight

Dan Plants, an activist who runs Voce Capital and used to practice law at New York firm Sullivan & Cromwell, says the idea a substantial owner who sits on a board of directors has a conflict of interest because they hold those shares in a fund is “staggering.”


The Debate Champ

Activist Insight

When Dan Plants first set up shop as an activist investor, the first round of calls he made on institutional Investors was the hardest.


Ex-Goldman Banker Channels Loeb Giving Tiny Firm Clout


Activist investor Dan Plants doesn’t mince words. He once criticized Conmed Corp. for having “dystopian corporate governance.” Another time he suggested that the directors of Obagi Medical Products Inc. “reek of entrenchment.” Yet Plants’ caustic style -- echoing that of Dan Loeb or Bill Ackman -- has made him a scourge of small companies, pressuring a number of them to sell, buy back shares or give him board seats. His recent successes, with companies including Investment Technology Group Inc. and Destination Maternity Inc., show that even fledgling activist funds, speaking loudly, can exert leverage with a small stick.


Enterprise Software Market 'Catnip' For Activists


Daniel Plants, founder and chief investment officer of Voce Capital Management, said his firm is not short of targets. Voce has executed several successful campaigns, including one at Oplink Communications, which sold last year to Koch Industries for $445 million. Voce always considers the alignment of management interests and shareholders. “I will give more weight to somebody who owns 5% of the company” than a management team which doesn’t own stock or sells its holdings regularly, he said. . . . Institutional investors have tacitly changed their tune in support of activist campaigns. Added Plants: “You are really doing a public service for them in terms of return on investment.”


Getting Comfy

Welling on Wall Street

There’s a new person doing activist investing in small-cap stocks. Dan Plants, Voce Capital Management. By writing letters, he recently got Solta Medical to be bought by Valeant. He got Obagi to be bought by Valeant, and he’s now waging a proxy fight with ConMed. He’s very impressive. He’s got a small, two-year-old hedge fund specializing as an activist in small-cap stocks. I’ve met him. A very clear thinker. If someone like Dan Plants can agitate and force deals for small companies and if large companies can be vulnerable to Carl Icahn, then managements have to prepare themselves to avoid such situations.