Bluebell Capital Partners' attempt to oust BlackRock Inc CEO Larry Fink represents the small activist hedge fund's boldest bet that its punch-above-weight strategy could deliver a financial win, even if its push for changes faces long odds. In the three years since its launch, Bluebell has challenged the policies and executives of some of the world's biggest companies, including GSK Plc, Glencore Plc, Vivendi SE and Danone SA, while owning very small stakes. The major prize Bluebell has so far scored was at Danone, where it helped oust a chief executive.
One scoop to start: Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX reached the late stages of negotiating a sponsorship deal worth more than $100mn with Taylor Swift, but talks with the pop star fizzled out just months before the exchange’s collapse in November. Old-school activist investors tend to have a similar playbook: pick a public company that is underperforming, acquire a sizeable stake and call for changes to be made to improve its stock price. It’s not often that they pick one of the most successful companies in the world and ask for one of the most well-regarded investors to step down from the top job.
Battle lines have been drawn in America’s latest culture war, with Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, its general. Its provocation was to invest at least some of its $8tn assets under management according to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles and to tell companies to think about climate risk. This, according to DeSantis and Florida’s chief financial officer, flouts BlackRock’s fiduciary duty to prioritise returns above all else.