June 18, 2020 / 12:28 PM / 25 days ago

Activist investor Snow Park calls on Front Yard to liquidate: letter

BOSTON (Reuters) - Activist investor Snow Park Capital Partners is urging Front Yard Residential Corporation’s board to liquidate the real estate company, arguing this is the best plan following a scuttled merger deal that sent its shares tumbling last month.

“We urge the Board to divert from its value-destructive path and pivot to returning capital to long-suffering stockholders via an orderly liquidation of Front Yard’s portfolio,” Snow Park Managing Partner Jeffrey Pierce wrote to the board on Thursday.

A copy of the letter was seen by Reuters.

This would likely yield more than the $12.50 a share offered by rival Amherst Residential before the planned $2.3 billion merger was called off in May, Pierce wrote.

Front Yard’s stock fell 1% to close at $8.36 on Wednesday, down 32% since January. In the last five years, it has lost about half its value and dramatically underperformed its peers which gained roughly 28%.

Pierce blames management and in his letter asked the board to remove Chief Executive George Ellison, who was put on administrative leave earlier in June by Front Yard’s external manager, Altisource Asset Management Company.

A Front Yard representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The hedge fund, which owns roughly 1% of the $452 million company based in the U.S. Virgin Islands, also warned it would challenge the board by nominating a slate of directors if “the necessary changes are not made this year.”

Snow Park ran a proxy contest last year to protest poor performance and management’s high compensation, and settled for two board seats. “We underestimated the extent to which insiders would revert to their old habits over the course of just a year’s time,” he wrote on Thursday.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Richard Chang

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