A helping hand during the holidays

MMI, the activist hedge fund that wants Brink’s to spin off one of its divisions, sent a holiday-season missive offering its help to Monitor Group, the firm hired by Brink's in November to evaluate "various strategic options available to the company." In a letter to Monitor Group managing partners Steve Jennings and Bob Lurie, MMI’s Clay Lifflander says his company has spent four years “scrutinizing Brink’s chronic undervaluation and attempting to unlock the company’s significant intrinsic value through the encouragement of strategic alternatives.” He says Monitor would “benefit from our experience and insights on these issues and would appreciate the opportunity to communicate with your team directly.” Lifflander told me today that he's yet to hear back from Monitor, but it's a busy time of the year, and they've probably got to check with legal and Brink's too, so maybe next week. "One of the things I’ve heard about Monitor is that they’re very independent. If they really are independent then they’ll want all touch points possible included in their deliberation…that leads me to think that they might want to talk,” he said. To read the letter, check out MMI’s Dec. 12 SEC filing. On a different topic, I posted a blog recently about MMI obtaining a stake in another home security giant, Protection One. In that I noted that MMI only owned about 80,000 shares of P1, and even though that's only about .32 percent of shares outstanding, it still earned MCM (which owns MMI) a spot (#10) on the Yahoo Finance list of P1’s top ten “Institutional Holders.” "Not any more," Lifflander said today. Lifflander pointed out to me that the recent SEC filing represented MMI's position as of September. Since that time, Lifflander said he's sold a bunch of P1 stock, and now only owns about $500,000 in P1 stock. He said he really likes P1 and thinks highly of Protection One's CEO Richard Ginsburg, but decided "we need to concentrate on Brink's right now."