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Hedge funds and C-suites: Trump-linked DWAC fires CEO | Pro Recap

By Davit Kirakosyan -- Here is your weekly Pro Recap of the biggest news out of hedge funds and company top brass you may have missed on InvestingPro.

Digital World Acquisition fires CEO Patrick Orlando, appoints interim CEO

Digital World Acquisition (NASDAQ:DWAC), fired Patrick Orlando from his positions as Chairman and CEO of the company, according to the Wednesday filing. Orlando, who, together with his other company ARC Global Investments, owns 10% of DWAC, remains a director of the company. Eric Swider, another director, was appointed to serve as interim chief executive while the board works on executing a final succession plan.


The company, set to merge with former President Donald Trump's social media firm, cited “unprecedented headwinds” that required a change in leadership to enter a "new phase." The company has been facing financial issues and is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors in New York City. Its plan to merge with Trump Media and Technology Group has been delayed, resulting in a loss of $100 million.

The news of the CEO’s termination comes as Donald Trump faces a potential indictment in Manhattan related to a payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 election.

Predict tomorrow's market and get headlines like these in real time with InvestingPro.

Norwegian Cruise Line announces CEO retirement and succession plan

Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE:NCLH), the company operating the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, announced that Frank Del Rio will retire and step down from his position as the company’s President and CEO, effective June 30, 2023. He will serve in a consultant capacity as a Senior Advisor to the Board through 2025.

Harry Sommer, who has served as President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line since 2020, will succeed Del Rio and will also join the company's Board of Directors, effective July 1, 2023.

United Natural Foods CEO to resign

United Natural Foods (NYSE:UNFI) said on Thursday that Michael Stigers notified the company of his intention to resign from his position as CEO to pursue another professional opportunity. In order to enable a smooth transition, Stigers will remain with the company until May 31, 2023.

Buffett unlikely to buy more Apple

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa), which owns a massive Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stake (39% of Berkshire’s portfolio), is unlikely to add more to his position “unless it experiences a significant pullback,” according to Bernstein.

“Buffett has been an extremely disciplined purchaser of Apple shares, buying at 25x earnings (the stock is at 28x today)... Total capital return is ~4% today (in good part because of its valuation), below the level it was when he purchased the majority of his stake,” said Bernstein.

The firm concluded that although Apple is a great company, its valuation seems less appealing both in absolute terms and in comparison to other larger-cap technology companies.

Carl Icahn issues a new statement to Illumina shareholders

Carl Icahn wrote a letter to Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) shareholders, urging an investigation “into the massive value destruction caused by the reckless decision” to acquire GRAIL despite objections from European antitrust regulators. Icahn emphasized that the directors required additional personal liability protection a day prior to closing the deal “and buried the news in the hopes that no one would notice”.

In response to this, Illumina issued a statement, noting that Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance and corporate indemnification are standard for Delaware companies, and support directors in making decisions in the best interests of shareholders. The company cited The Financial Times that "it is not uncommon for a company buying another business to increase insurance limits during the acquisition process."

“Mr. Icahn's nominees lack relevant skills and experience for Illumina's Board. Mr. Icahn has no ability to accelerate the legal and regulatory processes and neither do his nominees,” added the company.

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