July 12, 2019 / 1:41 PM / 4 days ago

Elliott builds Altran position in wake of Capgemini bid

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. activist fund Elliott said on Friday it had built up a position in French consultancy group Altran Technologies (ALTT.PA) in the wake of the 3.6 billion-euro ($4.1 billion) buyout bid by its bigger rival Capgemini (CAPP.PA) last month.

New York-based Elliott ECAL.UL began acquiring equity derivatives on Altran’s stock on July 8 and does not intend to tender the shares it could end up owning in the group, the fund said in a filing to France’s AMF market watchdog.

Capgemini, Altran and Elliott all declined to comment. As of 1502 GMT, Altran shares were up 1.8% at 14.36 euros in Paris, extending a 24% gain since Capgemini unveiled its offer.

With assets under management of more than $34 billion, Elliott has a history of building up minority stakes in takeover targets with a view to securing an improved bid.

Since last year, the fund has acquired stakes in a number of European companies including Pernod Ricard PERPPA, SAP (SAPG.DE) and Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI).

In 2015, Elliott obtained an injunction to prevent a merger between U.S. group XPO Logistics and French peer Norbert Dentressangle, in which it held shares. A Paris court eventually threw the injunction out.

Consulting firm Capgemini announced its friendly bid for Altran last month, seeking to tap into the fast-growing market for engineering outsourcing services. The firm aims to complete the transaction by year end.

Elliott has bought millions of Altran equity derivatives, according to a filing with French markets watchdog AMF, but does not yet directly own shares.

“As of today, their intention ... is not to tender any Altran Technologies shares they may acquire,” the AMF filing said. However, the fund reserves the right to change its mind at any time until Capgemini’s offer closes, it added.

($1 = 0.8891 euros)

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Laurence Frost

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