FILE PHOTO: Employees of Hyundai Motor Group leave after the company’s new year ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, January 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
SEOUL (Reuters) – Elliott Management sold all its shares in Hyundai Motor Group companies last year, a South Korean newspaper reported on Wednesday, after the U.S. activist hedge fund’s campaign demanding 7 trillion won ($6 billion) in dividends and board seats was thwarted in March.
Elliott held more than $1 billion (£710.6 million) worth of shares in Hyundai Motor (005380.KS), Kia Motors (000270.KS) and Hyundai Mobis (012330.KS), an Elliott unit said in April 2018. But it was not on the December 2019 year-end list of shareholders in any of the companies, the Korea Economic Daily reported, citing an unidentified investment banking source.
An Elliott spokesman could not be immediately reached. Hyundai Motor declined to comment, saying that the company is not able to disclose detailed shareholder information.
A recent recovery in Hyundai share prices may have influenced the move, the newspaper said, citing the source.
Hyundai Motor shares, which at end-March 2018 were at 143,500 won per share, dipped as low as 92,500 won in November 2018 before recovering to 122,500 won near end-December 2019.
Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis shares rose about 34% and 7%, respectively, in that time.
A 2018 shareholder vote on a proposal to restructure Hyundai Motor Group, seen aiding the handover of the group’s reins to heir apparent Euisun Chung, had been canceled after Elliott put forth its own agenda for changes at the group.
But in March 2019, the companies’ shareholders rejected Elliott’s demands for a massive special dividend and board seats, dealing a blow to the hedge fund’s campaign to shake up South Korea’s second-biggest family-run conglomerate.
As of November 2018, Elliott held more than 2.5 percent of common stock in Hyundai Mobis, 3 percent in Hyundai Motor and 2.1 percent in affiliate Kia Motors, the fund previously said.
Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Kim Coghill