ValueAct Discloses New Activist Stake in Armstrong World

ValueAct Capital Management LLC dislcosed a new active shareholder stake in Armstrong World Industries Inc., the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based maker of floors and ceilings.

ValueAct, the fund run by Jeffrey Ubben, bought 9.2 million shares for a 16.8 percent stake, according to a regulatory filing today, and may seek talks with management, directors and shareholders. The activist fund manager may push Armstrong to pursue changes in its operations, strategy or seek a sale, among other options, the filing shows.

ValueAct’s investment makes it Armstrong’s second-largest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Armstrong filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2000, after facing asbestos suits by former workers seeking compensation for health problems linked to the carcinogen.

The vinyl-flooring maker exited bankruptcy in 2006 by creating a $1.8 billion trust to pay victims of asbestos exposure. Four months later, Armstrong hired Lazard Ltd. to explore a sale.

The shares climbed more than 7 percent to $52.20 at 9:40 a.m. in New York, giving the company a market value of $2.86 billion.

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