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ANALYSIS: No Time to Aye for Bond-Targeting Activist Firm in Q3

Oct. 8, 2021, 9:00 AM

It is not surprising to see Paul Singer‘s firm, Elliott Investment Management LP, near the top of a list of activist investors with the most campaigns in a quarter. It is surprising, however, to see Ocean Capital LLC leading the way with the most campaigns for the third quarter of 2021, based on data from the Bloomberg Terminal.

During the third quarter, Elliott Investment Management engaged in several high-profile campaigns. In a letter to Duke Energy Corp. shareholders, Elliott claimed that it was “skeptical that the same structure and leadership team that have presided over a long history of operational and stock price underperformance are capable of delivering meaningfully better results” in the future. Elliott also took more than a 10% stake in Citrix Systems Inc. Elliott hopes to reverse a trend of significant declines in the price of Citrix stock. In 2021, shares of the workplace software maker have fallen nearly 20%.

While not capturing the media headlines that the Elliott campaigns did, Puerto Rico-based Ocean Capital had a particularly busy Q3. The firm targeted several closed-end bond funds managed or co-managed by an affiliate of UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico. As described by Ocean Capital, fund shareholders have regularly experienced “dismal asset management practices and extraordinarily poor returns.” The director slate proposed by Ocean Capital called for improved asset management practices, share repurchases, and orderly liquidations.

Ault Global Holdings Inc. rounded out the top three firms for the third quarter. Ault, which changed its name from DPW Holdings Inc. at the beginning of 2021, states that it seeks growth through the acquisition of “undervalued assets and disruptive technologies with a global impact.” Ault’s representative campaigns in Q3 included taking an 8.3% stake in Medalist Diversified REIT Inc.

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