Following Strong 2019, Blue Harbour Group to Return Investor Capital Later This Year
—Founder Clifton S. Robbins cites firm’s 33% return in 2019 and his energy and desire to make meaningful accomplishments in new areas—
—Fifteen year-old firm pioneered two innovations-‘friendly activism’ and ESG integration-that have become mainstays of the investment landscape—
—Blue Harbour intends to continue working with its portfolio companies to generate and unlock value during 2020—
GREENWICH, Conn., Feb. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Blue Harbour Group’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Clifton S. Robbins today informed investors in the firm’s Funds that Blue Harbour intends to return all investors’ capital later this year and close the Funds.
In a letter to investors, Mr. Robbins stated, “I’ve enjoyed an incredible 40 years in the investment business, managing investors’ capital in both the public and private equity markets for most of that period, and now I would like to apply my time and focus to other personal, philanthropic and business interests, including staying active as an investor through a Family Office that I will establish. Although this was of course a difficult decision, it feels like the right time—we just completed an excellent year with the Blue Harbour Funds returning 33% net, our investors are very happy, and my energy and productive years ahead still amply match my desire not only to identify and embark on new opportunities, but also, importantly, to see them through to significant milestones of accomplishment.”
Commenting on Blue Harbour’s strategy and team, Mr. Robbins’ letter stated, “I maintain deep conviction in the strategy we have successfully executed of selecting a few well-managed companies each year to support as a lead shareholder, bringing them ideas for generating and unlocking shareholder value over a multi-year period, and integrating consideration of material Environmental, Social and Governance factors into our investment selection and engagements. As Blue Harbour’s team members consider their own next chapters, they know they will have my full support, and my senior investment partners in particular know that I believe strongly in the opportunity they have to successfully continue pursuing Blue Harbour’s strategy if they choose.”
“Blue Harbour’s most important accomplishment is that we have been able to deliver strong returns to our investors, including navigating the financial crisis to protect investors’ capital and generating annualized net returns in our flagship strategy of about 14.4% over the decade since,” Mr. Robbins’ letter stated.
In public comments reflecting on Blue Harbour’s history and legacy, Mr. Robbins remarked:
“I always will be proud of our team that we pioneered two innovations during Blue Harbour’s fifteen years. Since our beginning we have conducted activism exclusively on a friendly basis, successfully collaborating with Boards and management teams on ideas to build and unlock value without once engaging in litigation, proxy contests or other public actions adverse to the leadership of our portfolio companies. And several years ago we anticipated the growing recognition of the relationship between material ESG factors and long-term investment returns, and the importance of fully integrating ESG analysis to put it on equal footing with traditional financial metrics and strategic considerations.
“It is very gratifying that we have seen our ideas validated both through our own results and through the activity of other market participants.”
In the letter, Mr. Robbins noted, “Though it is possible that our long-term success and the growing interest in both active engagement and ESG integration strategies could cause a partnership opportunity with a third party to emerge that would warrant consideration, my expectation is that we will remain on the path of returning investors’ capital, about $2 billion, and closing the funds later this year.”
In consideration of Boards and management teams of its Core investment holdings, and of their public shareholders, Blue Harbour reported that it recently completed several Core investments which have generated significant cash proceeds, and it expects to have ample ability to manage its remaining ownership stakes responsibly.
“During 2020, we will continue working to help our portfolio companies generate and unlock value consistent with our active value theses, including continuing to support them in making progress on the material ESG factors we have identified. You can expect us to be disciplined and diligent in how and over what time period we exit our positions, in the interest of generating the optimal outcome for our investors,” Mr. Robbins wrote.
Blue Harbour Group was formed by Clifton S. Robbins in 2004 to pursue an Active Ownership investment strategy by acting as a lead minority shareholder primarily in U.S. publicly traded companies, and working collaboratively with managements and Boards to identify initiatives to create and unlock shareholder value. In 2016 the firm developed a framework and process to fully integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations into all investment decisions and engagements. Blue Harbour manages capital on behalf of pension funds, endowments, foundations and other institutional investors.
Prior to founding Blue Harbour, Mr. Robbins was a General Partner of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., and a Managing Member of General Atlantic Partners, and he has served on the Board of Directors of more than fifteen public and private companies. He is a member of the Boards of Overseers and Managers of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and also serves as Vice Chairman of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council.
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