U.S. hedge fund Elliott Associates has added its name to the stakeholders’ list of two additional Samsung affiliates -- Samsung SDI and Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance -- ahead of the July 17 Samsung C&T shareholders meeting in which the controversial merger deal between C&T and Cheil Industries will be put to a vote.
Elliott’s expansion of its investment in Samsung Group is seen as an attempt to gain more control over Korea’s largest business conglomerate, which analysts have said is in the process of a generational change in leadership.
Elliott holds 7.12 percent in Samsung C&T, remaining its third-largest investor. The activist investor fund has consistently opposed the merger of the two key Samsung units.
On Monday, several media outlets reported that Elliott acquired 1 percent each of the SDI and Fire and Marine Insurance units. Their values are estimated at around 77.3 billion won ($68.6 million) for SDI -- which holds 7.18 percent of C&T -- and 138 billion won for the insurance firm -- which holds 4.65 percent of C&T.
The purchase is seen to have taken place in recent months, since Elliott’s name did not appear on the shareholders’ list last December.
“Those who hold more than 1 percent of a listed firm can take legal action against the management. It seems that Elliott is taking a detour and decided to put more pressure on C&T through its major shareholders,” an analyst said.
Hankyung.com cited a hedge fund manager in Hong Kong saying, “Rumors are rampant that Elliott has joined hands with other hedge funds to veto the deal.”
Samsung Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries sought to merge last year, but the deal was stopped at the last minute by opposition from major shareholders. Samsung’s flagship business, Samsung Electronics, has frequently been rumored to be seeking a merger with Samsung SDS.
Elliott refused to comment on the issue.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org