Gordon Singer, son of hedge fund owner Paul Singer did what is every hedge fund employee’s worst nightmare-send confidential data to eyes that should not be in the know. Singer works out of the London office of his father’s activist hedge fund Elliott Management mistakenly sent what the Post referred to as a “friendly eyes” email to a rep from Dutch painting and specialty chemicals conglomerate AkzoNobel- a company that Elliot is targeting.
Elliot Management had a covert plan in store to remove Antony Burgmans, the active CEO of AkzoNobel. The email contained privileged information about a special meeting where the plan would be hatched. “We need to be ready to roll.” Singer wrote in the group email that he sent out on Tuesday.
The plot to overthrow Burgman’s was hatched after it was determined that the CEO was blocking $26.3 billion dollar takeover bid from Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries. The original story of the leak has been reported in the Financial Times. The email contained instruction for future dealings with Azko and also instructed an employee of Elliot Management to alert PPG that the Elliot was requesting a special meeting to map out plans to move the takeover bid forward.
One line in the email even placed Elliot Management under scrutiny with Dutch regulatory officials after an employee from Elliot responded to the email chain by stating that he was in the process of making arrangements for a compliance officer to join him on a call PPG “so there is no issue with getting cleansed to trade in the near future.”
The “cleansing” referred to the swapping of information between Elliot Management of PPG regarding Akzo.
In response to the leak, Akzo alerted the authorities to the leaking of “potential price sensitive information” to PPG. Akzo also requested in a press release that Elliot Management disclose its communications history with Akzo.
PPG responded bitterly to the request, stating that “It would be preferable from PPG’s perspective if AkzoNobel would speak with us rather than about us.” The company also added that “there are currently no agreements or arrangements, in whatever form, between PPG and Elliot Advisors.”
In response to the news that his job is under siege, Buchner is calling a meeting on April 19th with shareholder’s to describe why the Dutch company offers a better alternative than the U.S. based PPG. One shareholder, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Financial Times “I think Buckner has massively backed himself into a small corner. He’s hung his entire his entire future and career now on coming out with a message on April 19 that he can deliver more value than the alternative.”
By: Boris Ruffian