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Lear climbs after investors ask company to increase shareholder value

Investment firms Marcato Capital and Oskie Capital - which together own about 5.6% of Lear's (LEA) stock - sent a letter to the auto parts maker demanding that it take steps to increase shareholder value, according to an SEC filing by the investment firms. Marcato and Oskie suggest that the board consider immediately launching a $2B share repurchase program and weigh reviewing the company's capital expenditures and acquisition and divestiture strategies. Lear should ensure that its capital structure is "more appropriate" and in-line with other companies in the industry, wrote the investment firms, who criticized Lear for being "dramatically overcapitalized." The review should ensure that Lear's stockholder capital is being directed to areas that offer the highest return for shareholders, Marcato and Oskie added. The firms wrote that they are interested in opening a "constructive dialogue" about these matters with Lear's board and stated that new board members should be selected. Lear earlier today announced that it was accelerating its $1B share repurchase program in response to concerns raised by Marcato and Oskie. The company also noted that it had previously increased its dividend by 21%. The investment firms, however, deemed these steps to be inadequate. In mid-afternoon trading, Lear rose $1.10, or 2%, to $54.50.