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Elliott built a stake in Twitter, is pushing for changes: sources

Juan Carlos Carvallo
Elliott built a stake in Twitter, is pushing for changes: sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Activist hedge fund Elliott Management, which often pushes technology companies to improve operations, has built a stake in Twitter Inc ( TWTR.N ) and is pushing for changes, including removing the chief executive officer, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

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FILE PHOTO: Paul Singer, founder and president of Elliott Management Corporation, speaks at WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo Founded by billionaire Paul Singer, New York-based Elliott is one of the world’s biggest activist investors with more than $40 billion in assets under management and has targeted companies ranging from eBay to AT&T to SoftBank in the last months for improvements.

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Its latest target is the microblogging and social network site and one of the hedge fund’s requests is to replace four directors, the people said.

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Elliott is also aiming to remove the company’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, who runs not only Twitter but Square ( SQ.N ), another publicly traded company.

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News of Elliott’s overtures sent Twitter’s share price surging 7.7% to $33.20 after its stock was battered this week amid a broad market sell-off fueled by fears about the spreading coronavirus and how it will affect earnings and economic growth

Bloomberg was first in reporting the news that Elliott has established a stake in Twitter and is pushing for changes

Calls to Elliott and Twitter for comment were not immediately returned

Dorsey, a prominent figure in Silicon Valley, has signaled that he would like to move to Africa for up to six months, a move that some analysts have called potentially reckless

Investors have already expressed concerns that he has been splitting his time between the two companies and a move abroad would likely worry them more, an analyst said

Elliott often settles with companies where management wants to avoid the cost and distraction of a noisy proxy fight

Early in 2019, the hedge fund won a board seat at eBay ( EBAY.O ). By the middle of September, eBay’s chief executive, Devin Wenig, was out as the company said it was exploring a potential sale of assets

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Sandra Maler and Stephen Coates