Spin-off watch – TNT and Cable & Wireless

Following last years oposts about spin-offs (part 1, part 2, part 3), I tried to keep track of some of the more interesting spin off situations.

TNT Express

TNT Express was the express service spin-off from the Dutch Postal company. I had them on my research pile somewhere at position 10 to 15. However on the weekend, UPS made a 9 EUR per share offer for TNT Express, roughly a 50% premium on the previously traded price.

If we look at the chart, until last week, both shares significantly underperformed the index since the spin-off happened, only TNT Express made it above the index after the offer.

The 30% stake of TNT Express which PostNL owns, has almost the same value as PostNL’s market value. So PostNL might be an interesting company to look at.

Cable and Wireless

Cable and Wirless, the UK telephone company spun off the “international” part into Cable and Wireless Worldwide in February year. The international part was supposed to be the sexy part, but due to management and accounting issues, the stock suffered.

Last week, there was the rumour that Vodafone might be interested in hte “boring” part, the UK fixed line operations. However there was no confirmation from Vodafone and so the shares didn’t manage to rise as TNT Express did.

Again, as with TNT/PostNL, both parts underperformed the index significantly, as the chart shows:

So is there something to learn form this ?

Both cases show that spin offs per se are not a sure thing at all. In the case of C&W it rather looks like a desperate measure of a desperate company. In both cases, the performance after the spin-off event was relatively bad, so there is no need to hurry aftger spin offs are executed. As with all other “special situation” investment startegies, patience is required.

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