Skip to main content

Paul Singer may not seem particularly flexible. Decade-long battles with sovereign states tend to give people an impression of stubborn obstinacy, even to the point of pig-headedness.

In truth, the Elliott Management chief has always been pragmatically open-minded: If he’s not able to fire you in his usual way, he’ll just buy the company and hand-deliver the pink-slips himself.

The situation simmered for more than a year. Eventually, Elliott’s thinking shifted. If Athena didn’t want to implement the firm’s plans, then Elliott would try to implement those plans itself.

Elliott submitted a formal takeover offer in May 2018. A month later, [Athena CEO Jonathan] Bush stepped down from Athena after Bloomberg published a story detailing past domestic violence allegations and newer accusations of workplace misconduct. Athena’s stock continued to flounder, and its shareholders opted to side with Elliott. A deal was reached by November, when Elliott teamed up with private equity firm Veritas Capital to buy Athena for $5.7 billion.

Huh. Wonder where Bloomberg got that information. Anyway, however bad it was for Bush, the pivot to private equity is working out rather swimmingly for Elliott.

Last week, after just three years of ownership, Elliott and Veritas closed the sale of Athena for $17 billion. Elliott's profit is estimated to be about $5 billion—a lucrative exit that serves as a testament to the benefits of private equity and Elliott's turnaround chops….

Elliott first invested in Citrix in 2015 and held a stake for five years before it ever attempted a buyout, and the firm owned a slice of Athena for nearly two years before closing its takeover in 2019. That yearslong relationship allows Elliott to learn more about potential targets than would be possible in normal diligence.

It also allows the firm to identify off-the-radar targets. Neither Citrix nor Athena had engaged any formal sale process when Elliott first made its approach.

Wall Street’s Most Feared Activist Investor Is Changing His Game After Shaking Up Twitter, AT&T And Samsung [Forbes]

For more of the latest in litigation, regulation, deals and financial services trends, sign up for Finance Docket, a partnership between Breaking Media publications Above the Law and Dealbreaker.

Related

paul singer

Paul Singer May Or May Not Be Becoming A Nicer Person

And it may or may not have to be because he has to in order to win.

paul singer

Elliott Becomes Private Equity Firm In Nick Of Time

Being a hedge fund just wasn’t working out well enough.

paul singer

Add Florida To The Long List Of Things Paul Singer Doesn’t Care For

Not even his designated successor and the lure of tens of millions in tax savings could get the Elliott Management chief to live among those people.

singer-apocalypse

Paul Singer Swears He’s Definitely Not Thinking About Deposing Jack Dorsey With These 3.5 Million New Shares He Just Bought

He just thinks, like, Twitter’s a great business on the right track, which is definitely something he says about lots of companies he’s invested in.

singer-apocalypse

Help Paul Singer Achieve Great And Terrible Things

All he needs is an extra $4 billion on top of the $2 billion he just raised.