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Equity Shot: What's Elliott Management and why is it coming after Twitter and SoftBank?

Alex Wilhelm and Danny Crichton


Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

After a long Shot hiatus, things keep happening that demand our attention. So, after digging into Tesla's near-miss of the $1,000 share-price mark, we're back to dig into Elliott Management's imposition into Twitter's world after sticking its nose into SoftBank earlier this year.

Alex and Danny had a few goals in this short, news-driven Equity episode: To talk about what the activist investor wants Twitter to do, and what it has wanted other tech companies to do in recent memory.

The tech world, sitting behind a contented wall of dual-class shares and founder-worship, may find activist investors grubby and irksome, but they don't care. And Twitter, a company that has famously loped along with a part-time CEO for longer than -- admit it -- you thought it would, is, in retrospect, an easy target.

Now that the social media company makes money on a repeatable basis, it’s more the sort of target that non-venture investors might want to peek at. They can make sense of it.

Danny and Alex then talk about Elliott’s multi-billion-dollar investment in SoftBank, where the activist hedge fund wants the Japanese conglomerate to provide more transparency to investors to increase the value of its shares. The question is whether Elliott can win in Japan, where corporate governance remains comparatively docile, and whether it has learned any lessons operating in Asia after the firm suffered one of its few major defeats in South Korea a few years ago when it failed to block Samsung from merging two of its affiliates together.

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.