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Paul Singer has a knack for getting his way. Whether his reputation precedes him, or through force of personality or argument or fear, or stubbornness, or patience, or elections, or holographic armies, companies eventually come around to his way of thinking (or are replaced by those who do). Which is all to say if you want to be one of the few Elliott targets to escape unscathed, it’s best not to hand it any extra ammunition. This, apparently, did not occur to Capgemini CEO Paul Hermelin.

In a recent interview, he drew attention to a fairness opinion commissioned by the Altran board which concluded the company was worth about 13 euros a share. That’s hardly going to make shareholders feel an urgent need to take 1 euro a share more…. Some Altran shareholders may dislike the offer and yet feel compelled to accept for fear of being stuck in a minority if their fellow investors gave Capgemini those minimum acceptances. Hermelin has himself eased such concerns by indicating that a simple majority holding would be sufficient to enable Capgemini to harvest financial benefits from Altran. In that case, minorities who stayed on board would be compensated as they would enjoy the value creation. And Capgemini has promised minority shareholders the chance to change their mind and accept the offer in March anyway.

When Elliott’s After You, Don’t Give It Ammunition [Bloomberg]


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