Insights into Elliott Management’s activist plan against Salesforce

Insights into Elliott Management’s activist plan against Salesforce

Good morning! Dan DeFrancesco in NYC, and I get a good laugh at the wild outfits celebs are wearing at Paris Fashion Week.

On demand we have stories about how a PE firm is using the public cloud as part of their pitching 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 to rumble.


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Brad Pitt, Tyler Durden, Fight Club

A fight is brewing between Jesse Cohn and Salesforce.

Fox 2000 Pictures/Regency Enterprises/Linson Films



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

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

Jesse Cohn, managing partner of hedge fund Elliott Management, is leading his firm’s recent activist campaign against struggling tech giant Salesforce via a multibillion-dollar equity investment.

Activist investing, as we mentioned earlier, will be all the rage in 2023. Investors have no shortage of companies with declining share prices and nervous shareholders.

But like ranch dressing on pizza just because it’s you can do something, not you should.

Activist investing may seem simple on paper: identify and invest in a company in turmoil; Develop a thesis on how to fix the problem. Gain shareholder support and control; carry out this plan and sell it profitably. But the current market environment (ie high interest rates) does not lend itself to business, making an exit strategy difficult.

However, this isn’t Cohn’s first rodeo. Despite being only 42, Cohn has seen his fair share of activist struggles. He worked under billionaire Paul Singer, a legendary activist investor himself, for nearly two decades.

Meanwhile, Salesforce has already implemented layoffs and seen top executives leave, leading some to wonder what kind of turnaround Cohn will propose. (More on this here.)

As for current Salesforce employees, some fear there could be deeper cuts as a result of Elliott’s campaign, Insider’s Ashley Stewart and Ellen Thomas report.

Click here to learn more about Jesse Cohn, a die-hard activist investor who just targeted Salesforce.


In other news:

Contrary to popular belief, idiots don’t always get ahead at work.

Universal images



2. Can I interest you in moving to the cloud? THL Managing Director Mark Benaquista discusses how the public cloud has become a key element in the private equity firm’s pitch to acquisition targets. How THL integrates the cloud into its investment playbook.

3. More cuts at Goldman. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about humans this time. Instead, the bank is trimming down some of its $59 billion alternative investments within its wealth management group, Reuters reports. More about the dead weight it seems to lose.

4. Who among the VCs earn their fees. Insider has gotten its hands on investment returns for the company, which manages $65 billion in endowments from some Texas universities. Check out the VCs that have delivered great returns for investors and those that leave something to be desired.

5. Banks are teaming up to compete with PayPal and Apple. Of the big minds you brought tozelle, big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are teaming up to launch a digital wallet, The Wall Street Journal reports. Here’s more about their plan to fight back against some payment players.

6. Meet the Square Syndicate. Insider has tracked down 15 people who started at payments giant Square, now known as Block, before going into business for themselves. Check out the startups these former employees have built.

7. Bill Ackman supports Bremont. The billionaire was personally involved in a $60 million round of funding 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 nice people aren’t always last when it comes to their careers. A recent study found that people who are selfish, combative, and manipulative may not always end up at the top of the corporate ladder. More on why the bad guys don’t always win.

9. Dear AI, please save my portfolio. 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 decide.

10. Boxer shorts, panties or bare bottoms? It turns out that commando might actually have some health benefits. But to be blunt, going sans underwear comes with its own set of risks. Read more here.


Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email ddefrancesco@insider.com, tweet @dandefrancesco, or 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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