The streak of big-name activists going after big-name companies in 2023 continues after the Wall Street Journal’s Lauren Thomas reported Elliott Management’s multibillion-dollar investment in Salesforce. On Thursday afternoon, Thomas followed up with another scoop that Elliott is planning to nominate a slate of directors. The news coincided with Bloomberg’s story that Salesforce is considering appointing new board members – including Mason Morfit, CEO of ValueAct.
Elliott joins fellow heavyweights Starboard, which entered the stock last October, and Inclusive Capital’s Jeff Ubben who held talks with CEO Marc Benioff this week. Of note, Elliott and Starboard have worked together in the past when the pair of activists pushed out the CEO at eBay.
In other activism news, Bloomberg’s Alexander Kell reports that pharmaceutical giant Bayer, which is also feeling the pressure from multiple activists – including Elliott and Inclusive Capital – is dealing with criticism from one if its largest shareholders, Union Investment. The criticism centers around a perceived lack of dialogue with investors and more action to create value for shareholders.
Shifting gears, to Bloomberg’s Matt Levine’s surprise (and everyone else’s), Elon Musk’s infamous tweet to take Tesla private at $420 per share apparently wasn’t a weed joke. The Tesla CEO took the stand to defend himself in a lawsuit accusing him of defrauding investors after he falsely claimed in a 2018 tweet to have secured funding to take the EV company private. When the stock subsequently cratered after a deal never materialized, a number of investors weren’t laughing after major losses.
Finally, as some predicted, Elon Musk is reportedly engaging investors to raise up to $3 billion by selling new Twitter shares. As the Wall Street Journal's Berber Jin and Alexander Saeedy report, the capital would be used to pay down some of the company’s $13 billion debt byproduct from Musk’s takeover. Meanwhile, Twitter said it is hemorrhaging $4 million in losses a day as advertisers flee the platform.
Have a great weekend,