Unlocking Value at Canadian Pacific: The Proxy Battle with Pershing Square
A principal at the hedge fund GBR Capital needed to determine how best to vote her fund's shares in the upcoming annual shareholders' meeting for Canadian Pacific (CP). For the previous decade, CP's shares had underperformed compared to its key Canadian rival, Canadian National Railway (CN). The key difference appeared to be CN's chief operating officer, who later became CN's chief executive officer. He was able to cut costs, which boosted CN's profits. In October 2011, Pershing Square, a hedge fund, acquired a 12.2 per cent stake in CP, investing a total of CA$1.1 billion, and proposed appointing CN's chief executive officer as CP's new chief executive officer. The principal at GBR Capital needed to investigate and quantify the extent to which an activist investor could unlock value in an under-performing firm.