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Activist Investing Today: Coast's Rasteh on FirstGroup, Covid-19

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Published: March 23rd, 2020
The founder of the New York-based activist fund explains why he's sticking with his investment and campaign at transport and school bus company FirstGroup — one of the fund's largest positions — even as its share price gets battered.

James Rasteh, founder of Coast Capital LLC, isn’t giving up on his investment and campaign at FirstGroup plc, even as the coronavirus continues to batter the school bus and transportation firm’s stock price.

In an interview with The Deal for its Activist Investing Today podcast, Rasteh argued that public transport, as offered by FirstGroup, is the “industry of the future” as city congestion increases and millennials purchase fewer cars. However, he acknowledged that “just now” the business — which has lost 68% of its value in 2020 — is not a good one to be in.

“Is there any good business to operate in now other than teleconferencing businesses?” Rasteh said. “Do you want to own an airline? Do you want to own a hotel? Do you want to own a restaurant? Car insurance company? … Just now is not a great time to be in this business and just now is obviously not a good time to be in any business at all. But unless we change our way of life, I think that public transport is the industry of the future.”

Rasteh also discussed his previous campaign at Compass Group plc and use of ex-CEO advisers to help with insurgencies. He also talked about FirstGroup’s strategic review for its U.S. operations and how Coast Capital’s own director candidate became the company’s board chairman.

Here’s the podcast:

More podcasts from The Deal are available on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud and on TheDeal.com.

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