Salesforce and Elliott in talks: Hedge funds and C-suites weekly | Pro Recap

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Salesforce and Elliott in talks: Hedge funds and C-suites weekly | Pro Recap
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By Davit Kirakosyan -- Here is your weekly roundup of the biggest news out of hedge funds and company top brass, all first covered on InvestingPro. Start your free 7-day trial to get this news first.

Salesforce and Elliott Management negotiating a settlement: report

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM ) and activist investor Elliott Management Corp are in talks to reach an agreement that may end a possible board challenge, according to the report from Reuters on Friday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Activist investors, including Elliott Management, have challenged Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff as the company's growth slowed sharply in recent quarters, resulting in a 10% workforce reduction announced last month.

The software firm has faced criticism from Elliott, Inclusive Capital Partners and Starboard Value, who have pushed for increased growth and margins, more buybacks, and have expressed concerns about recent acquisitions.

The possible settlement between Salesforce and Elliott, which unveiled its stake in January, could end the dispute, though details of the potential agreement are unknown. Neither Salesforce nor Elliott has commented on the matter.

Natixis says it doesn't own a 6% stake in Tesla

On Wednesday, Natixis confirmed to InvestingPro that a reported 189,784,078-share stake in Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ), which was disclosed in its recent Q4 13F filing with the SEC, was posted in error.

The filling had caused a stir on Wall Street, as it would have represented a 6% stake in Tesla, worth $39.7 billion, and made Natixis one of the top 5 holders of the company.

There was speculation that Natixis may have purchased the stock on behalf of a sovereign wealth fund, but that was found to be false. It seems that an additional "zero" was mistakenly added to the stake. Natixis told InvestingPro they would refile its 13F with the correct stake amount.

Silvergate Capital surges on Kenneth Griffin's Citadel Securities stake disclosure

Citadel Securities reported a 5.5% stake in cryptocurrency-focused lender Silvergate Capital (NYSE: SI ) Corp worth about $25M, according to a Reuters article on Tuesday. Following the report, Silvergate shares surged 18% and closed the week with more than a 20% gain.

A person familiar with the matter said that this disclosure is a result of the firm's market making operations, rather than a directional investment in Silvergate.

Later the same day, Soros Fund Management disclosed a put options position against 100,000 shares of Silvergate in a regulatory filing. Based on Silvergate's closing price of $17.40 at the end of 2022, the value of those shares would be about $1.74M. Details regarding the strike price of the puts, their value, and whether they are part of a broader trade remain unknown.

Michael Burry’s Scion bets big on Chinese giants

Michael Burry's Scion Asset Management fund turned over nearly its entire portfolio in Q4 2022, according to its latest 13F filing. The famed Big Short investor sold off most of his cable industry and private prison industry positions while making a sizable bet on two Chinese giants.

Burry had purchased 50,000 shares of Alibaba (HK: 9988 ) (NYSE: BABA ) worth $4.4M and opened a $4.2M position in (HK: 9618 ) (NASDAQ: JD ), potentially anticipating the reopening of China this year. Burry's last positions also include MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM ). Scion closed its positions in CoreCivic (NYSE: CXW ) and Charter Communications Inc (NASDAQ: CHTR ).

YouTube CEO steps down

Turning to management changes, Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, has announced her decision to step back from her role after almost 25 years at Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) (NASDAQ: GOOG ). In a note sent to YouTube employees on Thursday, Wojcicki said she plans to focus on personal projects, family, and health, and will be replaced by Neal Mohan, who will take over as the new head of YouTube.

Wojcicki will continue to work with Mohan to help with the transition, coach team members, and meet with creators in the short term, and will take on an advisory role across Google and Alphabet in the longer term.

2 more big management changes this past week

Restaurant Brands (NYSE: QSR ) appointed Joshua Kobza as the company's CEO effective March 1, 2023, as part of its ongoing succession planning process.

Kobza has held several senior roles with the company over the last 11 years, including CFO, CTO and Development Officer, and COO.

DoorDash (NYSE: DASH ) COO Christopher Payne announced his intention to resign, effective March 1, 2023. He will remain with the company through a transition period and retire at the end of May 2023.

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