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International Press Coverage of CIAM

La gestion active s’engage de plus en plus auprès des entreprises

L'Agefi

by Annick Masounave

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Est-ce que la médiatisation d’un différend relève d’une pratique caractéristique d’une gestion activiste ?

Anne-Sophie d’ANDLAU - La pratique est loin d’être courante. Nous sommes derrière le rideau dans la plupart des cas. Nous construisons une relation bilatérale avec le management ou avec le conseil d’administration. Cet engagement avec l’un d’entre eux est la première étape de toute relation. Notre méthode implique plusieurs étapes successives qui s’offrent à nous et que nous avons testées depuis cinq ans. Nous engageons une campagne de presse seulement lorsque nous sentons énormément de résistance face à nous. Ciam n’est jamais considéré comme un investisseur agressif, à l’inverse d’un Elliott, par exemple, qui recourt davantage à une stratégie de type « on tape d’abord, on discute ensuite ». Une campagne nous sert à mettre en avant, en premier lieu, des problèmes de gouvernance. Nous essayons de la sorte d’obtenir davantage de soutien et si possible d’entamer une discussion qui nous avait été refusée dans un premier temps. Notre objectif est de faire sauter des verrous. C’est en cela que nous sommes considérés comme un fonds activiste. Nous faisons valoir tout simplement nos droits d’actionnaires minoritaires.

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L'AgefiCIAM
Activist investor CIAM drops opposition to Ahold poison pill

Reuters

Activist investor CIAM said on Wednesday it would drop plans for legal action to force Dutch-Belgian supermarket operator Ahold Delhaize to put its decision to extend a takeover defense measure to a shareholder vote.

The poison pill allows an independent body to issue Ahold shares to thwart an unwanted takeover attempt, a common Dutch takeover defense.

In a statement, CIAM Chief Executive Catherine Berjal said she was “pleased” with a compromise put forward by the company.

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ReutersCIAM
Ahold Delhaize Appeases Shareholders With Poison Pill Compromise

Reuters

Ahold Delhaize on Wednesday managed to appease investors opposed to the extension of its takeover defence mechanism, by giving shareholders more rights if the poison pill is ever activated. ...

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These concessions were enough for CIAM to drop its request for an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to vote on the mechanism, and its warning that it would seek legal action if the company ignored its demand.

“These new commitments mark a significant victory for corporate governance and investor rights,” CIAM co-founder Catherine Berjal said in a statement.

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ReutersCIAM
Ahold Delhaize rejects calls for shareholder vote on takeover defense

Reuters

by Toby Sterling, Maiya Keidan

Dutch-Belgian supermarket group Ahold Delhaize (AD.AS) rejected calls on Wednesday for a shareholder vote on whether to retain a “poison pill” defense option against unwanted takeovers, drawing criticism from several of its investors.

At its annual meeting, the company’s boards said the defense mechanism - which is due to expire in December and gives an independent body the right to issue shares to thwart a takeover - could be extended indefinitely, and without investor approval.

Earlier Catherine Berjal, the co-founder of activist hedge fund CIAM, told Reuters that if Ahold Delhaize did not let investors decide, she would ask a judge at Amsterdam’s Enterprise Chamber to call an extraordinary shareholder meeting (EGM) to vote on the matter.

She said that while management had done a good job, there was a risk it would become complacent if it knew it was protected from potential bidders. ...

... Following the meeting, CIAM’s Berjal said: “We are disappointed at the board’s attitude and will now consider our options - all avenues to securing the best outcome for all shareholders and other stakeholders remain open.”

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ReutersCIAM
Le fonds activiste CIAM part à l'assaut d'Alès Groupe

Les Echos

by Laurence Boisseau

Le hedge fund français critique la gouvernance du spécialiste des produits cosmétiques et capillaires. Il réclamera, à l'assemblée générale de juin, la nomination d'un nouveau membre du conseil de surveillance.

Catherine Berjal et Anne-Sophie d'Andlau ne reculent devant rien . Depuis qu'elles ont fondé ensemble, il y a huit ans, le hedge fund CIAM (Charity Investment Asset Management), elles ont mené de nombreuses batailles. Parmi elles, Club Med , Euro Disney , Canal+, Zodiac, SFR, et tout récemment Ahold.

Un conseil qui ne joue pas son rôle

Les deux associées viennent de rendre publiques leurs revendications dans Alès Groupe. Elles critiquent la...

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Les EchosCIAM
Activisme : CIAM conteste la gouvernance d'Alès Groupe

WanSquare

by Pascale Besses-Boumard

Le fonds reproche au conseil de surveillance d'être composé de membres familiaux n'ayant pas
beaucoup d'intérêt ni de temps pour s'occuper de près à l'entreprise de produits cosmétiques.  Les PME familiales sont, certes, souvent largement dirigées par des membres liés au fondateur. Et
lorsque ces familles contrôlent largement le capital, pas évident d'y remédier. Il faut juste le savoir au moment de l'investissement.

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WansquareCIAM
La pression monte autour d’Ahold Delhaize avant l’AG

L'Agefi

by Antoine Landrot 

Plusieurs actionnaires minoritaires d’Ahold Delhaize font monter la pression à l’aube de son assemblée générale (AG), prévue mercredi. L’activiste CIAM, l’association néerlandaise d’actionnaires individuels VEB et le gestionnaire Bernstein demandent que l’éventuelle reconduction de la pilule empoisonnée soit soumise au vote lors de l’AG du groupe belgo-néerlandais de grande distribution. ...

... CIAM considère que le renouvellement doit être approuvé en AG. Lors de celle du 26 novembre 2003, «l’autorisation avait été accordée au comité directeur pour une période de 18 mois, au cours de laquelle, le 15 décembre 2003, il a exercé cette autorisation pour accorder l’option à la stichting pour une période de 15 ans. […] Aujourd’hui l’autorisation a expiré et à notre connaissance, aucune autorisation n’a été votée en AG donnant le droit à la direction d’accorder à nouveau l’accord d’option», écrit CIAM dans un courrier envoyé le 12 mars aux dirigeants d’Ahold Delhaize – et qui appuie une première missive datée de janvier. En clair, «l’autorisation de 18 mois d’origine étant largement échue, les actionnaires devraient d’abord voter l’autorisation à la direction d’accorder à nouveau l’option à la fondation», explicite Catherine Berjal, cofondatrice de CIAM, contactée par L’Agefi. Si la direction campe sur ses positions, CIAM n’exclut pas de déposer un recours.

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L'AgefiCIAM
Ahold Delhaize: on the defensive

Financial Times

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A company such as Ahold, which is bigger in terms of market value than either Tesco or Carrefour and operates in a consolidating sector, should not need to hide behind poison pills. If it wishes to do so, it should at least give its owners a chance to vote on them.

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Financial TimesCIAM
Ahold Delhaize urged to put poison pill decision to vote

Reuters

Dutch-Belgian supermarket operator Ahold Delhaize should put any decision about renewing its poison pill structure to a vote by shareholders, the association for Dutch retail investors (VEB) said on Thursday.

The VEB joins activist investor CIAM in wanting a vote on the matter, after CIAM wrote in a letter to management made public last week that the poison pill structure depresses shareholder value in Ahold.

“Shareholders are consulted when they need capital, but when a decision needs to be taken about the future of the company we are told to keep our mouths shut” VEB director Paul Koster said in a statement.

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CIAM, the VEB and Bernstein have asked Ahold to put the poison pill structure renewal up for a shareholder vote.

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ReutersCIAM
First activist shareholder makes itself known to Ahold Delhaize

DutchNews

French hedge fund CIAM has criticised plans by Dutch food and retail group Ahold Delhaize to renew a governance structure that it said acts as a poison pill to potential suitors and keeps its share price depressed, the Telegraaf reported on Friday.

CIAM may well be the first activist shareholder to arrive at the gates of the Dutch-Begian group, but it will not be the last, the paper suggests. ‘Anything that looks like a poison pill is a problem of governance,’ Anne-Sophie D’Andlau, co-founder of CIAM, told Reuters news agency.

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DutchNewsCIAM
CIAM on a roll, lines up new event/active Ucits fund

EuroHedge

by Rob Murray

Paris and London-based hedge fund is set to launch the Satellite Event Driven UCITS Fund in March

CIAM, the Paris and London-based event-driven hedge fund boutique with an emphasis on Europe and on activist investing, is preparing to launch a new Ucits vehicle inspired by its flagship strategy. The firm, which made hay last year with a return of 24.20% for the CIMA Opportunities Fund, expects to ...

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EuroHedgeCIAM
Les activistes repartent à l'offensive dans les fusions européennes

Les Echos

By Anne Drif

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« Les marchés sont sous-valorisés en Europe. Pour les activistes, c'est l'opportunité de libérer cette valeur, alors que les consolidations se multiplient et qu'avec le Brexit la zone va se fragmenter », souligne Melville Mummert chez Raymond James. La France suscite en particulier l'attention. « C'est le deuxième marché européen, rappelle Anne-Sophie d'Andlau chez Ciam, qui a mené campagne contre SFR et Eurodisney, à Activist Insight.  Tant les valorisations que le M&A et l'activisme y sont en deçà de la tendance générale ».

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Les EchosCIAM
Sohn London: Here’s How Hedge-Fund Managers’ Ideas Have Fared

Bloomberg

by Suzy Waite, Nishant Kumar

With the biggest names in hedge funds about to gather for the annual Sohn London conference, it’s a good time to assess how their calls from last year fared during a boom time for global stocks.

From bullish bets on Euro Disney to shorting Australian banks, hedge funds made diverse calls at last December’s gathering. But it was the star traders’ long recommendations that proved to be the most profitable.

An investor betting an equal amount on each manager’s long idea would have seen a return of 19 percent -- more than the gains in the Stoxx Europe 600 and S&P 500 share indexes.

The best-performing long call was Ciam executive Anne- Sophie D’Andlau’s bullish forecast on Euro Disney. Although it made less than a third of the 300 percent she predicted, the shares soared after Walt Disney Co. announced plans to acquire the company in February.

The heaviest loss came from Michel Massoud’s bullish call on Opera Software ASA, whose shares fell amid a drop in revenue. That didn’t stop his Melqart Asset Management hedge-fund firm from returning 18 percent this year through October. Massoud declined to comment.

Shorts were less profitable in a market buoyed by quantitative easing. Four out of five bearish calls were more or less flat, the exception being Masroor Siddiqui of Naya Capital’s short on Aryzta AG. This ended up as a win as the Swiss baker’s shares tumbled amid concerns about lower earnings, rising debt and competition from the revamped Twinkie treat.

Speakers due to tout their investment ideas at this year’s conference at the Marriott Hotel in London on Thursday include oil trader Pierre Andurand; Paul Ruddock of Lansdowne Partners; and Pelham Capital founder Ross Turner.

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BloombergCIAM
Legends4Legends, Amsterdam, September 2017

The Hedge Fund Journal

By Hamlin Lovell

CIAM: Championing the interests of minority shareholders
Hot on the heels of their success with Euro Disney, London and Paris-based activist CIAM has secured another victory for minority shareholders, in SFR versus Altice. For the second time in ten years the French regulator has blocked a deal. “Altice tried to squeeze out France’s number two mobile operator, SFR, at a cheap price. We disputed Altice’s fair value opinion on several grounds: it excluded two valuation methods (comparables and past transactions) and it used the lowest metric for SFR combined with the highest for Altice,” explains CIAM co-founder and managing partner, Anne Sophie d’Andlau. “Altice threatened minority shareholders with the highly unusual tactic of charging them a management fee of about 3% of revenues. We wrote to Altice board members reminding them of their duty to minority shareholders; one board member resigned,” she adds.

CIAM also filed a complaint alleging misuse of corporate assets around, amongst other matters, a related party property deal. Eventually this year Altice’s offer of EUR 34.5 per share was 38% above its initial tender of EUR 24.7. CIAM’s strategy has annualised at around 11% over the past four years, and is up 21% in 2017 to September, with single digit volatility and low equity beta. CIAM donates 25% of their performance fee to charities.

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The Hedge Fund JournalCIAM
Activism’s New Rules

Hedge Fund Insight

by Montieth M. Illingworth, president of Montieth & Company

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"All of those shifts have increased activism’s appetites. Activism was previously focused on easy prey in the middle market. Then, emboldened by their growing success, activists woke up to the fact that the same amount of effort applied to the top 10% of names by market cap can generate far better rewards. That has created a who’s who of targets, globally: Hitachi, Walt Disney, Whole Foods, Rolls-Royce, Proctor & Gamble, WPP, Avon, General Electric, and on, and on.

And they’re not just going for the mothership. A new tactic is to target companies majority owned by a larger entity, essentially accusing the latter of lazy ownership. This is again the competency of management issue writ large. That’s what Elliott Advisors, the European affiliate of U.S. based Elliott Management Corp did when going after Italian rail signaling firm STS Ansaldo: it was majority owned by Japan’s Hitachi. Or when Paris’ CIAM went after Euro Disney and SFR Group and its owner Altice NV."

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Hedge Fund InsightCIAM
Call to action: Investor activism is surging in continental Europe

The Economist

by Rob White

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It is not just Americans who have sprung into action. A London-based group, The Children’s Investment Fund, recently led a successful campaign to urge Safran, a French maker of aeronautical parts, to lower its offer price for Zodiac, a poorly run French producer of aeroplane seats and toilets. On the other side of the deal, a French fund called CIAM had invested in Zodiac and sought the Safran takeover.

CIAM’s profile has risen in recent years. In 2013 it opposed a sale of Club Med, a tourism company in which it held a stake; that allowed a Chinese buyer, Fosun International, to step in with a higher bid. CIAM also campaigned for Disney to pay more to minority investors in Euro Disney, a subsidiary that was taken private in June. Anne-Sophie d’Andlau of CIAM calls such activism “new in France”, but says the trend is picking up. Activists previously struggled even to meet asset managers, for instance in Paris, says Ms d’Andlau. Now investors listen when she explains an idea.

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The EconomistCIAM
SFR squeeze-out bid from Altice is a 'victory' for minorities – activist CIAM Story

Deal Reporter

by William Mace

SFR Group [EPA:SFR] activist investor CIAM has claimed Altice’s [AMS:ATCT] EUR 34.50 squeeze-out offer as a “victory for minority shareholders”, according to CIAM Managing Partner Anne-Sophie D’Andlau.

Altice announced on Thursday morning (10 August) that it had acquired 95.9% of SFR’s share capital and would therefore launch a buy-out offer followed by a squeeze-out for the remaining shares.

SFR’s stock closed at EUR 31.45 per share on Wednesday, but shot up 9% on news of the offer to EUR 34.35 per share on Thursday afternoon.

The company will file the offer with the French market regulator Autorité des marchés financiers’ (AMF) in September.

“We note that the offered price is much higher than the price we challenged when the first offer was announced in September 2016,” D’Andlau told this news service. “From this point of view, this is a victory for minority shareholders,” she added.

Asked whether CIAM would accept the squeeze-out, D’Andlau said all of its options were open at this stage.

On 5 September last year, Altice launched an all-share take-out offer for the 22.25% of SFR shares that it did not own, but faced substantial opposition.

It offered eight new Altice shares in exchange for five SFR shares, corresponding to EUR 24.02 per SFR share, based on Altice’s closing share price on 15 September 2016 of EUR 15.01, according to this news service’s analysis.

The offer was eventually deemed non-compliant by the AMF and Altice subsequently began buying shares off-market.

CIAM anticipated the squeeze-out, telling this news service in December that when the offer came the fund would look very closely at its appropriateness and reserve its rights to challenge the offer in court.

In the meantime, CIAM publicised a campaign to have Altice pay SFR around EUR 1bn for the right to rebrand its businesses.

Speaking today, D’Andlau said that CIAM always considered that SFR should be delisted if Altice wanted to impose a change in the name of the SFR brand or at some point charge management fees.

CIAM would not speculate as to whether the AMF would accept the latest offer.

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Deal ReporterCIAM
Patrick Drahi’s Altice Launches Fresh SFR Buyout Attempt

Fortune

by David Meyer

The Netherlands-based telecommunications and cable company Altice has announced that it now has 95.9 percent of the shares in its French SFR subsidiary, and it wants to buy out the rest. ...

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With SFR, Altice said it intends to file its buyout offer, with the French markets watchdog AMF next month. It's offering €34.50 ($40.38) a share. It will use the AMF's "squeeze-out" provisions to raise its stake to 100% if need be.

The company tried buying out the SFR shares it didn't already own last year, back when it only had a 78 percent stake, with the offer of a share swap. However, the regulator blocked the move because it was not giving minority shareholders enough information. Since then, Altice has been buying up SFR shares in private transactions.

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FortuneCIAM
Altice veut retirer SFR de la Bourse

Le Figaro

by Elsa Bembaron

Avec plus de 95 % du numéro deux français des télécoms, la société va lancer une offre de retrait de la cote.

Après une première tentative il y a tout juste un an, Altice s'apprête à retirer SFR de la Bourse de Paris. Le groupe de Patrick Drahi détient plus de 95 % des titres de l'opérateur et s'apprête à déposer une nouvelle offre de retrait de la cote, cette fois en numéraire.

Altice propose 34,50 euros par action de sa filiale française, soit un total d'environ 600 millions d'euros pour cette opération, pour une valorisation de SFR à 15,3 milliards d'euros. Sitôt l'annonce faite ce jeudi matin, le titre SFR a gagné plus de 9 % s'alignant quasiment sur le prix de l'offre. «Sur trois ...

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Le FigaroCIAM