It's a date: Hard-pressed Samsung prepares for shareholder love-in

Elliott Management sustains calls to break up SK biz

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Samsung's top brass will go public tomorrow about ways to beef up shareholder value on the back of continued calls from activist investor Elliott Management's to break up the South Korean business.

Just as the chaebol extinguished one fire – the exploding Galaxy Note 7 recall – yet another has ripped through the boardroom with Elliott, which owns a 0.6 per cent stake, agitating for higher shareholder dividends.

The view according to Elliott is that Sammy should separate itself into a holding vehicle and operating company, and in the process hand ₩30 trillion ($27bn) to shareholders.

The board at Samsung said last month that it would "carefully review" the shareholder's proposal – the company has now scheduled a conference call for 9.30am local time on 29 November.

Investment banker HI Investment and Securities said that even if Samsung does not open up about the "specifics such as the timing of the split" it will confirm that "ownership structure changes" are in the offing.

Samsung is run by the Lee family, with Lee Jae-yong running the show since his father was incapacitated by a heart attack. He recently grabbed a seat on the board at Samsung Electronics.

Elliott – which was the prime agitator for corporate change at Broacde, EMC, Riverbed, Citrix, Informatics, and so on – also wants to slot some of its people on to Samsung's board.

The pressure for change follows a year to forget for Samsung, with the multibillion-dollar recalls of the overheating Galaxy Note 7 smartphones denting profits and other markets the firm operates in shrinking. ®


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