Can European Activist Hedge Funds Win with a Kinder, Gentler Approach?

July 25th, 2013
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As U.S. activist hedge fund managers wage very public and often ugly battles with target companies, a kinder, gentler, and low profile approach is preferred by their European counterparts. As reported by Reuters, activist investors in Europe largely shun aggressive activism as much for the perceived incivility of it as for its ineffectiveness with company management. Instead of waging high profile, Dan Loeb-style battles, European hedge fund managers, such as Centaurus fund chairman, Bernard Oppetit opt for a more subtle approach through private sessions with company management. Harlan Zimmerman of Cevian Capital insists that event-driven activism no longer holds any sway with company management in Europe. According to Alex van der Velden of Ownership Capital, activist hedge funds in Europe are even promising a less confrontational approach as a pre-condition of their investment in a company.

Although there is no data available to show if this low-key approach is more effective, some U.S. hedge funds, such as Trian Fund Management and Knight Vinke Asset Management are beginning to adopt it when dealing with European companies. On the other hand, the traditional activist approach still achieves mixed results. Elliot Advisors crashed and burned with the approach on Actelion, a Swiss biotech firm; however, Sherborne Investors managed to shake up top management at F&C Asset Management PLC with positive results.
For Detailed Investor Profiles on these Investors, click below:
Centaurus Capital
Cevian Capital
Elliott Management Corporation
Knight Vinke Asset Management
Trian Group
Related People: Bernard Oppetit; Brian Miller*; Cecilia McAnulty; Christer Gardell; Ed Garden; Eric Knight; Glen P. Suarez; Gordon Singer; Jeffrey C. Keil; Jon Pollock; Lars Forberg; Nelson Peltz; Paul Leary; Paul Singer; Peter May; Randel Howard Freeman
Related Entities: Centaurus Alpha Fund; Cevian Capital (UK) LLP; Cevian Capital AB; Cevian Capital AG; Cevian Capital I; Cevian Capital II; Elliott Associates; Elliott International; Elliott Management Corp; Knight Vinke & Cie SA; Knight Vinke Asset Management LLC; Sterling Investment Group*; Trian Capital; Trian Credit Partners; Trian Fund Management, L.P.; Triarc; Triarc Companies*; Wendy's/Arby's Group, Inc.(NYSE: WEN)
Related Article Tags: Shareholder Activists, Corporate Raiders and Proxy Battles; Investment Management and Hedge Fund Firm Mergers, Acquisitions, Spin-offs and Transactions; Featured Reports

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