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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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