BY GEERT De LOMBAERDE
This story first ran in our sister publication the Nashville Post.
A New York investment firm that manages $1.3 billion is setting up to push for changes at Acadia Healthcare after splurging more than $67 million over the past eight trading days to grow its stake.
P2 Capital Partners this week filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying it now owns a little more than 6.4 million shares of Acadia, or about 7.3 percent of the Franklin-based company. That’s up from nearly 4.3 million on June 30 and 3.1 million at the end of last year. In their filing, the firm’s principals say they “may make suggestions and give advice to the Issuer regarding measures and changes that would maximize shareholder value” but don’t go into details beyond that.
An Acadia spokeswoman said the company has “ongoing dialogue with all of our shareholders and we welcome their input.”
Launched in 2007, P2 Capital has regularly been an activist needling companies in its concentrated portfolio, which comprised just 16 holdings this summer. In the past three years, it has engaged with insurance technology companies Ebix and Health Insurance Innovations as well as communications software firm BroadSoft, among others.
Since the beginning of last week, P2 has been in the market in a big way: On Sept. 10 and 11 alone, it acquired about 781,000 and 718,000 shares, respectively. On three other days, its managers bought at least 130,000 shares.
Shares of Acadia (Ticker: ACHC) rose 1.4 percent Friday to close at $32.76. Over the past six months, they have risen about 8 percent but they traded as high as $80 in mid-2015.