(Adds details from Meister’s presentation)
By Michael Flaherty and David Randall
NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - Activist investor Keith Meister revealed his fund’s newest investment on Monday, detailing a bet on CenturyLink Inc and describing the telecom infrastructure company’s pending purchase of Level 3 Communications Inc as “game changing” for the industry.
Meister, speaking at the Sohn Conference in New York, said Corvex Management LP owns a 5.5 percent stake in the company. The fund had not previously disclosed that bet, and Meister said it would disclose a formal securities filing detailing the stake later on Monday.
Shares in CenturyLink, which expects to close its $24 billion acquisition of Level 3 in the third quarter of this year, jumped by more than 4 percent after Meister’s revelation.
Meister said CenturyLink, which has a $13 billion market value, could see its shares rise more than 40 percent.
Key to the success of the company, Meister said, was ensuring that two executives remain working together at the combined entity: former Level 3 Chief Executive Jeff Storey and CenturyLink CEO Glen Post.
“We are counting on the board to get Jeff and Glenn on the field at the same time” said Meister, who previously worked for investor Carl Icahn and whose fund manages around $6 billion.
Even if the company faces headwinds, Meister said, its 9 percent dividend yield will serve as protection for investors.
Reporting by Michael Flaherty and David Randall; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli