Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – Cevian Capital, the largest activist hedge fund in Europe with $15.4 billion is assets and which counts Carl Icahn among its investors, has a calm, behind-the-scenes approach and uses public pressure as a last resort, according to a just-published profile by The Economist. The Swedish fund, which was founded by Christer Gardell and Lars Forberg, employs a form of “constructive activism” which focuses on only a dozen companies at a time, an approach the founders employed during their time together at Custos, a listed investment firm.

“Sclerotic companies abound in Europe,” Mr Gardell told the Economist. Nevertheless, he sees advantages in Europe’s culture of corporate governance for an activist fund like his, for example in the process of obtaining a board seat, which is easier by comparison to in the United States. Cevian’s typical ownership stake is between 5 and 20%, and it operates mainly in the Nordics, Britain, Germany and Switzerland, preferring to avoid southern Europe.

Cevian is known for splitting up companies, believing that conglomerate structures can be too expansive and that splitting them up can benefit both managers and shareholders. Its separation into two of the Cookson Group, a British industrial firm, for example, more than doubled the combined value of shareholders’ investment. Despite some opposition, Cevian is attempting to repeat the feat at Volvo, Bilfinger, Ericsson, and others.

Cevian returned 19.4% in 2016. Read the profile in The Economist here.


Picture: (c) Christian Delbert—

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Glenn Leaper

Glenn W. Leaper, Associate Editor with Nordic Business Media, completed his Ph.D. in Politics and Critical theory from Royal Holloway, University of London in the summer of 2015, and is currently involved with a number of initiatives, including advising businesses and writing his first post-doctoral book. While pursuing his academic career, Glenn is also in the process of founding a Communications Consultancy. Following experience with a number of international organizations, businesses and ventures, he believes there is always a way to objectively improve the presentation, and representation, of a company or individual, and thereby increase the confidence of investors, stakeholders, employers – and voters. In an era dominated by technological innovation, he believes the human component of communication and its inherent potential should be safeguarded and revitalized. Glenn’s services span a range of activities, from writing, editing and branding to speechwriting, delivery, and tactical and strategic advice. His objective is to always provide a client with the extra push that can make the difference between success and failure. His hope, over time, is to translate such contributions to the political arena. Glenn currently resides in Vienna, Austria, having an international background spanning the UK, US, France, Spain, Belgium and Denmark. He holds an MA in English from the University of London and a BA in International Relations from Webster University.

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