The Financial Times writes about Bluebell, a hedge fund boutique that is fewer than two years old and runs just €70m in assets. The little-known activist fund that helped topple Danone’s CEO.
The group owns less than €20m of Danone, which has a market cap of €41bn, and has a fraction of the firepower of much larger and more prominent US activists such as $40bn group Elliott Management and $15.5bn Third Point.
Nevertheless, Bluebell quickly became the public face of a campaign at Danone that eventually led to Faber’s ousting last week.
The activist fund manager, which was set up by former Goldman Sachs bankers, had verbalised a growing and multiyear shareholder frustration over poor performance at the maker of yoghurt and Evian water under its purpose-driven leader.
Faber’s dismissal was reminiscent of the years before the financial crisis, when small-stakes activists could cause concern among company executives. Bluebell’s opponents regard the halftime performance as a significant victory.
One seasoned hedge fund activist said, “They were particularly helpful in forging consensus among fellow shareholders who may have been afraid” of being seen as criticising Faber’s moral credentials.
Danone’s successful marketing push comes after a rough period for the strategy, which has found itself in the crosshairs of other activists like as Nelson Peltz and Corvex Capital over the previous decade. Many campaigners have been wary of appearing to attack businesses that are already suffering from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.