Activist investing is never an easy task, but by following the latest activist filings, you can piggyback off of some of the smartest money managers and hedge funds ever. These guys are capital allocation wizards, and it pays to watch what they do.

Biotechnology Value Fund announced its full support of the proposed merger of Avigen (AVGN) and MediciNova (MNOV), stating that it believes that the worst-case scenario for Avigen shareholders is $1.20 per share; the stock closed on Thursday at 74 cents. Avigen, which on Dec. 22 stopped all clinical trials of its experimental treatment for spasticity-related multiple sclerosis, just sold its early-stage blood compound for $7 million to Baxter Healthcare. Avigen has a negative enterprise value of -$19 million, with $47.4 million dollars in cash, $7 million in debt and a current market cap of $21.73 million

Dialectic Capital has hired investment bank B. Riley to help explore alternatives for its investment in integrated semiconductor company California Micro Devices (CAMD), mainly to sell off key assets, or even the whole company, to a larger, more strategically diversified company. California Micro trades with a negative enterprise value of -$5 million, with $53 million in cash and $132 thousand in debt. Dialectic Capital also wants the company to return $33 million, or $1.42 per share, in cash as a special dividend to shareholders.

On Dec. 30, KSA Capital sent a letter to the board of Intertape Polymer (ITP) stating that it thinks the company should put itself up for sale or replace the current board of directors. Intertape, which has a market cap of just $57.7 million, has only $11 million in cash and more than $250 million in debt.

Simcoe Partners is in the process of electing two board members to Telular’s (WRLS) current board of seven members. On Dec. 1, Simcoe rejected Simcoe’s request, offering two nonvoting boards. Telular has $7 million in cash and $10 million in debt.

Things at Selectica (SLTC) are really heating up after Trilogy acquired a 5.1% stake in the company and made a verbal proposal to acquire it at a sizeable premium to its current stock price. All of this resulted in Selectica’s board triggering its poison pill agreement to stave off a looming offer from Trilogy in late December.

Selectica provides sales “configuration and management software solutions that allow enterprises to manage sell-side business processes." It has a market cap of only $19.8 million, and it has $3.6 million in cash on its balance sheet, or $1.06 per share, with $5.6 million of debt. Selectica trades with an EV of -$5.1 million and EV/EBITDA of 0.2

Activist hedge fund Steel Partners owns about 15% of Selectica’s shares outstanding.

Posted on Jan. 8, 2009