Vodafone feels the pressure after activist investor Cevian builds a stake
Voadafone is expected to speed up an organisational overhaul after it was revealed that a notorious activist investor had taken a stake in the firm.
Cevian Capital, one of Europe’s biggest activist investors with around $15bn under management, is pushing for a change in direction after Vodafone’s slump in share performance since 2018, Bloomberg first reported.
The British telecoms giant has nearly halved in value since 2018 and Cevian is now reportedly keen for the firm to begin aggressively consolidating mobile operators in weaker telecoms markets like Spain, Italy and the UK, sources cited by the Financial Times said.
Shareholders have lost 9.4 per cent in the past five years versus a gain of 24.4 per cent for the FTSE 100 over that time.
Cevian is also ramping up pressure on the firm’s board which it attacked for a lack of industry experience. It claimed the board did nothae the necessary experience to challenge executive decision-making
Cevian has built a reputation for driving through aggressive simplification strategies at sprawling multinational firms which it believes are being run inefficiently.
It is also currently agitating for changes at firms including Swedish telecoms group Ericsson and UK insurance firm Aviva.
The stake in Vodafone comes amid a spate of activist investors building positions in British firms that are seen to be underperforming.
Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners was recently revealed to have staken in beleaguered consumer goods group Unilever, while GlaxoSmithKline has come under sustained pressure from activist hedge fund Elliot which has been pushing for a break up and change in the leadership of the company.
BT is also under pressure from Franco-Israeli activist Patrick Drahi who has taken an 18 per cent stake in the group.
Shares in Vodafone jumped above 2.7 per cent this morning after the stake was revealed.