Elliott, Sandell Keep Busy In New Year

Jan 16 2014 | 12:44pm ET

A pair of prominent activist hedge funds have had a hectic start to 2014.

Elliott Management, in particular, has been busy: Since the ball dropped in Times Square 16 days ago, the New York-based hedge fund has won two seats on Compuware Corp.'s board, won a higher offer for pharmaceutical distributor Celesio and won the spin-off of Hess Corp.'s gas stations.

Elliott has also opened an investment in computer-networking equipment-maker Juniper Networks, and made a hostile $3.2 billion takeover bid for another networking-equipment maker, Riverbed Technology.

Not all of Elliott's moves have been winners. Riverbed rejected Elliott's offer and McKesson Corp.'s bid for Celesio was voted down by shareholders.

Sandell Asset Management hasn't been quite as frenetic, but has stuck its finger in several companies' eyes. On Tuesday, the hedge fund sued Bob Evans Farms, which recently instituted a requirement for 80% shareholder support to amend its bylaws. Sandell has pushed Bob Evans to spin off its restaurants and possibly its real-estate holdings.

Sandell has said that Bob Evans' directors "reek of cronyism."

Sandell has also reiterated its demand that FirstGroup sell its U.S. businesses, notably Greyhound Lines.

The hedge fund called FirstGroup's rejection of its proposal "premature."

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