Paul Singer Should Probably Just Factor In A Fine Whenever Investing In French Transport

Paul Singer was in a foul mood last week, telling his clients that if they think the worst is over, they’re stupid, and even amidst all of the red ink “there does not appear to be a gilded cornucopia of shining bargains.” That was on Wednesday. A letter he received on Friday is not likely to have improved his outlook.

Activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors has been fined €20m for failing to cooperate with the French banking regulator, during a takeover battle between two transportation companies…. The AMF said it had found errors in Elliott Advisors’ reporting of the takeover attempt and said that the hedge fund’s actions were “intended to conceal from the market, for as long as possible, the strategy of blocking the squeeze-out offer in order to negotiate a reassessment of XPO’s offer price.”

Given the relative flimsiness of the case, and Elliott’s track record, it’s pretty clear the French authorities would prefer Elliott steer clear of their transportation sector entirely. Meanwhile, another American activist is gonna see if that holds true for its media sector as well.

Lagardere SCA, owner of the Hachette publishing house, is facing real pressure from Amber Capital U.K. LLP. Stake building by media group Vivendi SA and, reportedly, French investor Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere suggests a chess game is about to start. Amber Capital’s case for stronger oversight gets more compelling by the day.

We’ll see whether that matters to the AMF.

Elliott Advisors fined €20m by French banking regulator [Financial News]
Hedge fund Elliott says stocks could fall 50% from February highs – letter [Reuters]
One Hedge Fund Takes on the French Establishment [Bloomberg]

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