Activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors has stepped up its assault on two UK companies after garnering the support of extra shareholders.
At National Express, where it has built up a 17 per cent stake and called for a shake-up of strategy, it is expected to receive the backing of the transport group’s largest shareholder, Spain’s Cosmen family.
The Cosmen family, a major investor in National Express since 2005, holds a 20 per cent stake but has not publicly backed the board.
Sources close to National Express told City A.M. the family “has been a long term supporter of the company” and it “remains to be seen” which side of the debate it will support.
Meanwhile, at Alliance Trust, where Elliott recently bought a three per cent stake, stockbroker Brewin Dolphin is set to meet management tomorrow to persuade it to discuss its share price performance, which trades at a discount to the firm’s net asset value.
Elliott has not yet demanded any changes at Alliance Trust, which manages £2.4bn of funds, but in February Laxey Partners, another activist fund with a 1.3 per cent stake, called for a control mechanism to reduce its gaping 17-20 per cent share price discount.
Brewin Dolphin is said to be representing shareholders that own a combined four per cent of the firm’s stock, who all want the firm to shake up its strategy.