Dealcast: Activism in Europe
No one is safe from activist investors, or so Elliott Advisors would have European companies believe. The US-based fund was recently revealed to have built a stake in Vodafone Group. What they might want is still a mystery, but it is likely the global telecoms group's many minority interests and broad geographical portfolio could be targeted.
Much of the action this year has revolved around de-conglomerisation, with activists Cevian and Elliott at Thyssenkrupp and Sherborne Investors at Barclays pushing for streamlined structures. Could GSK be next?
So far, the often more aggressive US funds have opted for a gentler approach in Europe, but as companies are getting more proactive and as defence strategies are getting more sophisticated, the gloves could increasingly come off.
UniCredit's Mustier at least is confident his military background will serve him well in fending off Caius Capital's attempt to force the conversion of EUR 3bn of financial instruments into common stock.
Kat Van Hoof gets the lowdown on activist antics and campaigns from Activistmonitor Assistant Editor William Mace.