Why Is Autodesk (ADSK) Stock Rocketing Higher Today

Jabin Bastian /
2024/06/17 11:42 am EDT

What Happened:

Shares of design software company Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) jumped 5.2% in the morning session after activist investor Starboard Value disclosed a $500 million stake in the company and publicly shared their detailed analysis and concerns about the company's operations and governance. 

Starboard's letter argued for Autodesk to improve growth and profitability as they spotted areas for substantial margin improvement and more shareholder-friendly capital allocation policies. 

Starboard's move is notable given that activist investors often bring about significant changes in targeted companies, focusing on improving asset monetization, expense efficiency, and stock buybacks. 

Notably, Starboard has called for enhancements to Autodesk's board of directors and filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery to delay Autodesk's 2024 Annual Meeting.

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What is the market telling us:

Autodesk's shares are very volatile and over the last year have had 4 moves greater than 5%. In context of that, today's move is indicating the market considers this news meaningful but not something that would fundamentally change its perception of the business. 

The previous big move we wrote about was 14 days ago, when the stock gained 7.2% on the news that the company gave an update on its audit committee's investigation, which confirmed that there will be no "restatement or adjustment of any audited or unaudited, filed or previously announced, GAAP or non-GAAP financial statements." This update provides an additional source of relief for investors regarding the impact of the investigation on Autodesk's financials, at least in the short term.

Autodesk is up 1.8% since the beginning of the year, but at $238.13 per share it is still trading 10.7% below its 52-week high of $266.68 from February 2024. Investors who bought $1,000 worth of Autodesk's shares 5 years ago would now be looking at an investment worth $1,515.

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