Shares of Navistar International Corp., which employs about 800 in Springfield, rose more than 7 percent Friday to close at $29.95 after activist investor Mark Rachesky disclosed he has acquired a 13.6 percent stake in the company.
Rachesky’s firm edges Carl Icahn’s 11.9 percent to make it Navistar’s largest shareholder.
Rachesky’s MHR Fund Management LLC reported Friday that it obtained 9.3 million shares of Navistar (NYSE: NAV) in recent weeks through purchases and options, the Wall Street Journal reported. Most of the shares were purchased for prices averaging between $26 and $29 a share.
“Things are going to start to happen faster now,” Robert Wertheimer, an analyst with Vertical Research Partners, told Reuters. “If you were the board or you were senior management, I think you would have to be considering a variety of options.”
Navistar has been struggling for the past year to contain the costs of its program to develop a new style of diesel engine for heavy trucks, and has seen its shares lose about half their value along the way. The company has been in the spotlight since October, when Icahn disclosed his stake and proposed a merger with rival Oshkosh Truck Corp., Reuters reported.
The stock plunged as much as 28 percent on June 7 after it reported the loss, then recovered a day later when Icahn raised his stake from 10 percent and Fiat Industrial (FI.MI) Chairman Sergio Marchionne hinted he was keen on the company, Reuters said.
The Springfield plant this year hired new workers for the first time in a decade as management and UAW members have worked together to improve production flexibility.
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