Activist Nelson Peltz forced to close London investment firm

Nelson Peltz will close his £440m London investment firm and return assets to shareholders after clashing with a group of disgruntled investors in a role reversal for the usually pugnacious billionaire activist.

The New York-based founder of Trian Fund Management is known for his fierce campaigns, demanding change from the management of companies such as consumer group Unilever and fund manager Janus Henderson.

However, in recent months Trian has faced its own challenge from activist shareholders in the London-listed investment firm it launched in 2018, Trian Investors 1.

A committee of investors, including Invesco and Janus Henderson and hedge funds Pelham Capital and Global Value Fund, have pressed Trian Investors to return cash to shareholders, despite Peltz’s wish to continue trading and make new investments .

Trian Investors, which holds £440m in assets, has gained 71% based on total net asset value return over the past three years. He reaped significant returns on investments in Unilever and the heating and plumbing group Ferguson.

In a statement on Friday, Trian Investors’ board said it “recognizes that a significant portion of the current shareholder base would like the opportunity to opt out of its shareholder base.”

The dispute at Trian follows another shareholder spat involving a US billionaire and his London investors.

Dan Loeb, head of hedge fund Third Point, was challenged by shareholders at his London-listed company last year in a 10-month governance dispute.

Loeb reached a truce with the activist group after insurgent shareholders lost a crucial vote and Third Point agreed to appoint a new independent director.

At Trian Investors, the shareholders’ committee won a vote to eject the company’s chairman at a hotly contested emergency general meeting last month, which saw some of the committee’s other proposed changes to the board. rejected by narrow margins.

The vote kicked off a series of negotiations that culminated in Friday’s agreement to liquidate Trian Investors. The board has said it will return at least 95% of the shares and cash held by Trian Investors to its shareholders by June next year, after which the company will be closed and the remaining assets returned.

“The board is confident that its proposals represent a positive and sensible path that leads to an outcome that all shareholders can support,” said Mark Thompson, who took over as chairman of Trian Investors after the month’s votes. august.

More than 80% of Trian Investors shareholders have indicated support for the plan, the board said, including Trian itself, which is a major shareholder. The shareholders’ committee also supports the plan.