Corporate activist Elliott outspending rivals: Lazard data

FAN Editor
Paul Singer, founder and president of Elliott Management Corporation, speaks at WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach
FILE PHOTO: Paul Singer, founder and president of Elliott Management Corporation, speaks at WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

July 10, 2019

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON (Reuters) – Elliott Management Corp, Paul Singer’s $35 billion hedge fund, has outspent all rivals in pushing for corporate changes like spin-offs, mergers, and management overhauls this year.

In the first six months of 2019, Elliott has committed $3.4 billion in new capital, outpacing Carl Icahn who spent $2.8 billion during the first half, data compiled by Lazard show.

Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC spent $1.5 billion in the first half while Jeffrey Smith’s Starboard Value spent $1.2 billion, according to Lazard’s report, which will be released later on Wednesday.

New York-headquartered Elliott, known for previous entanglements with industrial parts maker Arconic Inc and healthcare company athenahealth, has spent the money on six new campaigns in 2019. It has $17.4 billion invested in ongoing campaigns, the report said.

In April, Elliott announced its first ever large European tech investment with a stake in German business software firm SAP and two months later it confirmed an investment in pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer AG.

Alongside Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management, which disclosed a position in British plumbing products distributor Ferguson PLC in June, Elliott is among a small number of mostly U.S.-based top ten activist firms now prodding European companies to make changes.

However, the Lazard data show there was a pullback in campaigns in Europe in the first half of the year after activists in 2018 tried to shake up a record 58 European companies, including beverage company Pernod Ricard.

While Elliott holds the title of having spent the most on campaigns, Smith’s far smaller Starboard Value, with assets of roughly $5 billion, has been the busiest activist, having waged 10 campaigns in the first half.

Starboard pushed for strategic changes at companies including pizza maker Papa John’s International Inc, Cerner Corp and drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Elliott’s new campaigns in 2019 included a push for changes at U.S. online auctioneer eBay Inc, where Starboard also ran a campaign.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, additional reporting by Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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