Covisint in the Crosshairs

Covisint Corp (NSDQ: COVS), which builds software that securely identifies users and allows them to connect with other systems, has become an activist investor target.

One of our smart car plays, Covisint was spun off from Compuware back in 2013. Its share were priced at $10 on its IPO (initial public offering), peaked at $13.74 on their first day of trading and got as high as $14.46 in the following month, but since then they’ve gradually drifted downward. As of the close last week its shares were trading at $2.25 – a better than 4% jump on the day after news broke that the company was acquiescing to an activist investor.

A number of investors have taken big stakes in the company since May, including Roumell Asset Management and Neuberger Berman, at roughly 5% each. Most recently though, noted short seller Dialectic Capital Management announced that it had taken a 6.2% stake in the company and that management had agreed to appoint three new independent directors to its board. Considering that most of these big investors have been pushing the company to conduct a “strategic review,” otherwise known as courting buyers, it’s safe to assume that these new directors will be helping with that process.

Covisint has been hesitant to sell itself off because, as even the activists have noted in their SEC filings, its technology has been recognized as some of the best in the automotive industry. It counts a handful of major automakers among its customers, including GM, Ford and Hyundai, and also serves several other industries. However, the market has failed to recognize that and reward shareholders so now many investors, including the activists, think the best bet is for the company to sell itself off.

Considering the big one-day jump the shares made on the news, apparently the rest of Covisint’s investors agree with that proposition.

We noted that the company was a high-risk/high-reward play when we added it to the portfolio back in April and that opinion hasn’t changed. The strategic review could take months to play out and, even if a potential buyer is found, a favorable deal might not be struck. But with mergers and acquisitions activity up so far this year and many tech companies flush with cash, there is a good possibility that a deal can be can get done.

Still offering a great technology and now on the market, Covisint Corp is still a buy under $2.50.

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