Sherborne Investors, the fund led by activist investor Edward Bramson, has muscled in on Navient and built a stake of around 16 per cent in the US-based student loan management company, it said today.
Seven months after the fund admitted defeat in its three-year campaign on Barclays, in which it pressured the lender to oust its CEO Jes Staley and shrink its investment bank, it’s turned its attention to the US group.
After accumulating its 16 per cent stake, Sherborne is Navient’s biggest shareholder, ahead of mutual fund manager Vanguard Group’s 10.66 per cent stake, according to Refinitiv data.
But shortly after Sherborne announced its stake, Navient launched a shareholder rights plan, a defensive move that enables existing investors to purchase extra shares at a discount, and makes it more expensive for Sherborne to build its stake to more than 20 per cent.
“Navient is committed to engaging in constructive dialogue with all of our investors and we welcome their perspectives,” said Jack Remondi, president and CEO, Navient.
“We also want to ensure investors are able to realize the full long-term value of their investment and receive fair and equal treatment, which is what the Rights Plan is designed to do.”
It comes after Bramson has sold his firm’s 6 per cent stake in Barclays in May, ending a three-year campaign against the bank.
Since 2018, Sherborne Investors had pressured Barclays CEO Jes Staley to scale back its investment banking unit, and demanded his removal over his links to US financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, but struggled to gain much traction.
The value of the Sherborne vehicle dedicated to the Barclays stake fell by around £150m compared to the £700m it raised when it was formed in 2017.
During summer, Sherborne said it had identified another company to invest in and had begun building a position in that firm, but didn’t provide a name.
Navient shares dropped 5 per cent on the news.