Crown Castle Shares Up at Market Open After Activist Investor Vows to Change Things
Crown Castle (NYSE: CCI) shares climbed 3.9% at the market open on Monday after activist investor Elliot Management confirmed a stake in the company. The hedge fund issued a letter calling for the ouster of the wireless tower owner’s executives and board members.
Elliot Confirms $2B Stake in Crown Castle, Accuses Management of “Irresponsible Stewardship”
Activist investor Elliot Investment Management confirmed it acquired a stake in Crown Castle. This move represents a part of its broader plan to seek changes at the communications infrastructure provider. Following the news, the company’s shares rose nearly 4% in the premarket.
After acquiring a stake worth over $2 billion, Elliot wants to initiate talks with Crown Castle over certain changes that will reignite its stock performance. In its letter to the company’s board, Elliot stated the management disregarded its data-driven analysis and failed to introduce the necessary adjustments.
“Crown Castle suffers from a profound lack of oversight by the Board, which has contributed to its irresponsible stewardship and flawed financial policy. The Company’s strategy, led by CEO Jay Brown since 2016, has been a failure, as demonstrated by the breathtaking magnitude of its underperformance.”– Elliot wrote in the letter.
This led to a poor performance in Crown Castle’s shares, which have consistently underperformed its peers over the past 15 years. Last month, the stock fell to a 6-year low before slightly recovering. Still, its year-to-date performance sits at -25%.
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Elliot Calls For Significant Leadership Change at Crown Castle
Elliot said Crown Castle outlined specific changes the company must make to stage a turnaround.
The activist investor called for a new executive and board leadership, an improved inventive plan, an overview of the fiber business, and better corporate governance. It also said it was prepared to appeal to other shareholders to change the 12-member board, signaling a potential proxy fight in 2024.
The moves represent Elliot’s latest effort to provoke changes at the wireless tower owner. In 2020, the hedge fund urged a strategic review of the company’s fiber business.
Under current management, “Crown Castle has underperformed its direct peers by an average of 85% in total return,” Elliot said in the letter, amounting to almost “$26 billion of unfulfilled shareholder value.”
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