Inside Elliott Management’s activist plan against Salesforce

Inside Elliott Management’s activist plan against Salesforce

Hello! dan de francesco in New York, and I’m having a good laugh at the wild outfits celebrities wear at Paris Fashion Week.

On tap, we’ve got stories about how a private equity firm uses public cloud as part of its launch process, good and bad VC returns for an investment firm, and why it pays to be nice at work.

But first, let’s get ready for the fight.


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brad pitt, tyler durden, fight club

There’s a battle on the horizon between Jesse Cohn and Salesforce.

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1. How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

The first rule of Fight Club is that you DO NOT talk about Fight Club. But the first rule of activist investing is that you HAVE to talk about your activist investing.

Jesse Cohn, managing partner of hedge fund Elliott Management, is leading his firm’s latest activist campaign against beleaguered tech giant Salesforce over a multi-billion dollar stake.

Activist investing, as we’ve covered above, will be all the rage in 2023. Investors have no shortage of companies with lagging share prices and nervous shareholders.

But, like ranch dressing on pizza, just because may do something, it doesn’t mean that should.

Activist investing may seem easy on paper: identify and invest in a company in crisis; develop a thesis on how to fix it; gain shareholder support and control; execute said plan and sell for a profit. But the current market environment (ie high rates) does not lend itself to deals, complicating an exit strategy.

This isn’t Cohn’s first rodeo, however. Despite being only 42 years old, Cohn has seen her fair share of activist battles. He has spent nearly two decades working with billionaire Paul Singer, a legendary activist investor in his own right.

Meanwhile, Salesforce has already carried out layoffs and seen top executives leave, leaving some to wonder what kind of change Cohn will suggest. (More on that here.)

As for current Salesforce employees, some fear even deeper cuts are in the offing as a result of Elliott’s campaign, report Insider’s Ashley Stewart and Ellen Thomas.

Click here to learn more about Jesse Cohn, a tenacious activist investor who has just set his sights on Salesforce.


In other news:

Jerks don’t always get ahead at work, contrary to popular opinion.

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2. Can I interest you in a change to the cloud? THL Managing Director Mark Benaquista details how public cloud has become a key part of the private equity firm’s pitch for acquisition targets. This is how THL incorporates the cloud into its investment playbook.

3. More cuts at Goldman. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about people this time. Instead, the bank is cutting some of its $59 billion worth of alternative investments within its asset management group, Reuters reports. Learn more about the deadlift you are looking to drop.

4. Who earns their fees among venture capitalists. Insider got his hands on the investment returns of the firm that manages $65 billion in endowments for some Texas universities. Check out the VCs that have turned in big returns for investors and the ones that leave a lot to be desired.

5. Banks are teaming up to compete with PayPal and Apple. Of the great minds that Zelle brought to you, big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are joining forces to launch a digital wallet, The Wall Street Journal reports. Here’s more on his plan to fight some paying players.

6. Meet the Square syndicate. Insider mapped 15 people who started out at payment giant Square, now known as Block, before striking out on their own. Take a look at the startups these former employees have built.

7. Bill Ackman endorses Bremont. The billionaire was personally involved in a $60 million round of financing for the British watch brand, the Financial Times reported. More on Ackman’s latest bet, along with his philosophy on personal investing.

8. It’s nice to be nice. It turns out that nice people don’t always finish last when it comes to their careers. A recent study found that people who are selfish, combative, and manipulative don’t always end up at the top of the corporate ladder. More on why the bad guys don’t always win.

9. Dear AI, save my folder. Insider’s Phil Rosen wanted some investment advice from ChatGPT. What he got was a five-part strategy. Is it better than a human financial advisor? You be the judge.

10. Boxers, briefs or open pants? It turns out that going as a commando might actually have some health benefits. But, to be clear, going without underwear comes with its own set of… risks. Read more here.


Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Comments or advice? Email ddefrancesco@insider.com, tweet @dandefrancescoor connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

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