IRobot Gets New Pressure From Activist Shareholder
Bedford, Mass.-based iRobot (IRBT), best known as the maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum, is facing a new push by an activist shareholder firm to rid itself of its businesses outside of home robots. Red Mountain Capital, which owns a 6.1 percent stake in iRobot, has sent an open letter to the company’s management urging moves including the pursuit of “strategic alternatives” for the firm’s defense and security robots division. Red Mountain is also asking for iRobot to “discontinue the remote presence business”; “explore a Dutch auction tender offer for iRobot’s shares in the amount of at least $100 million”; “consider instituting a regular dividend policy”; and “address significant lapses in corporate governance.” Via the letter: “We expect that this plan will result in a near-term increase of at least 50% in the market value of iRobot, (2) and will position the Company for significant future stock price appreciation.” In a statement posted Tuesday evening, iRobot said that members of its board and management team “have held numerous discussions and meetings with Red Mountain over the last seven months,” and the company is “surprised that they have determined to take this course of action.” IRobot also said it is “focused on allocating capital to the most accretive opportunities to create stockholder value,” and that added that “our Board and management team regularly evaluate the Company’s strategic options and priorities for capital deployment, and are actively considering a range of options in conjunction with the development of the Company’s operating plan for 2016.”
David Price Reportedly Agrees To a 7-Year Deal With the Red Sox
According to a report from the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, the Red Sox have an agreement with free agent pitcher David Price for seven years and worth $217 million (which would be a Major League record for a pitcher). The dominant left-hander, who went a combined 18-5 in 2015 (pitching for the Tigers and Blue Jays) would add immediate legitimacy to Boston’s starting rotation. However, the concern will inevitably be in giving a 30-year-old player a seven year contract. Here’s the breakdown from Abraham.
Cambridge’s LovePop Cards to Appear on Shark Tank This Month
LovePop, the Cambridge-based maker of pop-up greeting cards, is scheduled to appear on ABC’s Shark Tank on Dec. 11, according to the Boston Business Journal. The startup recently disclosed in a Form D filing that it raised $2.6 million from 22 investors, its largest funding round yet. Earlier this fall, LovePop launched a Kickstarter for two new card designs of presidential candidate Donald Trump and faux presidential candidate Deez Nuts. Another Boston-area startup, Unshrinkit, recently appeared on Shark Tank and landed a $150,000 deal with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
CarGurus Launches U.K. Site
Cambridge-based auto shopping website CarGurus has made its first expansion into Europe, with the launch of a U.K. site on Tuesday. The CarGurus U.K. site currently includes stock from more than 3,500 dealerships. It’s the second country outside the U.S. for CarGurus, which debuted a Canada site earlier this year. CarGurus reports having the second-highest traffic rate among car-shopping websites in the U.S., with more than 15.5 million unique users each month. The company was launched in 2007 by Langley Steinert, a co-founder of TripAdvisor.
School Shooting Puts 3 Boston Schools into Lockdown
A 16-year-old student was shot in the leg during school lunchtime in a park across the street from the Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and the O’Bryant School of Mathematics & Science, Monday. The shooting prompted school officials to put both institutions, as well as the nearby Timilty Middle School, into “safe mode”: Doors were locked and robo-calls went out to parents alerting them of the shooting. The victim, a Madison Park student who was scheduled to be in class when the shooting occurred, is known to police, who are investigating potential gang connections to the shooting. The victim’s injuries were not life threatening, according to the Globe. The Herald reports.
New Balance to Unveil Brighton Residential Development Today
New Balance and developer HYM Investment Group are set to reveal initial designs to day for a 295-unit residential development that is part of its $500 million mixed-use Boston Landing project, surrounding its new headquarters in Brighton. The 290-square-foot residential development will be located on 1.9 acres at 125 Guest St. The athletic shoe company is proposing four floors of residences above street-level retail in one wing and 16 floors of units above street-level retail in the other. The Herald reports.
Rob Gronkowski Might Not Even Miss a Game
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is week-to-week with a mild knee strain suffered during Sunday’s game versus the Denver Broncos. Gronkowski leads the Patriots with 931 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower could miss a few weeks, though. He’s believed to have suffered a medial collateral ligament sprain in his knee. USA Today reports.
Despite Financial Uncertainty, The Lawn on D Will Return This Spring
The Globe reported not so long ago that The Lawn on D was facing financial troubles – spending far more than it was bringing in, causing it to question whether it would be back the following year. Now, it appears its fate has been sealed. “The goal is to keep Lawn on D open while moving toward self sufficiency,” said Massachusetts Convention Center Authority chief strategy officer Johanna StorellaLepore. That means an increased effort to improve operations for the next three to four years – which means your favorite public playground for adults gets new life.