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Elliott Management has previously invested in Telecom Italia, where it had a profound effect on boardroom dynamics

Activist investor, Elliott Management, has taken a $3.2 billion stake in US telecoms giant, AT&T.

The US investment fund has a reputation for aggressively pursuing its own agenda at board level, most notably at Italian telco, Telecom Italia (TIM).  

Elliott Management has been involved in a high-profile boardroom tussle at TIM where it has wrested control of the boardroom away from the company’s biggest shareholder, Vivendi, in a bid to optimise shareholder returns.

After taking the stake in AT&T Elliot Management issued a statement, urging AT&T to return to its core business operations, stating that a recent string of high-profile acquisitions had seen It erode its business focus and shareholder value.

“What has attracted our attention, as well as the attention of other shareholders – from large institutions to individual AT&T employees – has been the prolonged and substantial underperformance of AT&T as an investment relative to its potential,” Elliott wrote in a letter to AT&T.

“Over the past ten years, for example, AT&T – a “bellwether” in all senses of the word – has not only failed to keep pace with the broader market but has actually underperformed by over 150 percentage points.” 

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