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Rumored Activist Interest In The Rails: Why CSX, Why Now?

Rumored Activist Interest In The Rails: Why CSX, Why Now?

Shares of CSX Corporation (NASDAQ: CSX) are steaming higher by more than 20 percent on Thursday after news broke that railroad veteran Hunter Harrison is planning to get involved with CSX. Harrison abruptly departed Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (USA) (NYSE: CP) just months prior to his scheduled retirement, reportedly leaving C$118 million on the table.

Harrison famously teamed with activist investor Bill Ackman to turn around Canadian Pacific’s business and share price. Harrison joined Canadian Pacific back in 2012. During his time at the company, his cost-cutting measures improved the company’s operating ratio to 56.2 percent.


Harrison is now reportedly teaming with former Pershing Square partner Paul Hilal to take on CSX.

Perhaps Harrison likes CSX specifically because its operations appear to be consistently trending in the right direction in recent quarters. Despite an earnings miss last quarter, year-over-year revenue and earnings growth have steadily improved for CSX in each of the last three quarters. In fact, both revenue and earnings growth both turned positive in the most recent quarter after several quarters in the red.

Peers Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP) and Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC) all fell short of delivering either positive earnings or revenue growth last quarter.

CSX’s current operating ratio stands at around 70 percent, suggesting plenty of room for improvement.

Posted-In: Bill AckmanNews Rumors Travel Management Movers Media General Best of Benzinga


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