US-owned activist investor Elliott Capital Advisors has increased its stake in Hammerson to 5.3%, placing the UK shopping centre developer under pressure as it prepares to reveal a strategy update to shareholders.
Elliott, the UK operation of hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, first disclosed a 1.5% stake in the FTSE 250 company in April. Its increased investment in Hammerson allows the minority shareholder to ask questions about the company's plans to improve profits.
This comes after a difficult few months for Hammerson, whose share price fell sharply after a failed takeover bid from France's Klépierre earlier this year. The business also encountered shareholder rebellion over plans to buy out UK peer intu, triggering a U-turn.
Hammerson turned down a second cash-and-shares bid from its French rival in April, saying it 'very significantly' undervalued the company with its 635 pence per share offer. In mid-March, Hammerson's share price fell to a low of 434 pence but it has since regained some ground and was trading this week at around 542 pence.
Days after rejecting the Klépierre bid, Hammerson bowed to pressure from shareholders to withdraw its takeover bid for UK peer intu. Inferior quality assets and an increased exposure to the worsening UK retail market were cited as key issues by analysts.
Meanwhile, France's Klépierre would be allowed to renew its takeover bid for Hammerson after 13 October, under M&A rules. Shareholders are expected to seek further discussion about the best strategic direction for the company to unlock greater value for investors.