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Alternative Market Briefing

Stern's Rossbach blasts Elliott's Pernod investment

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Laxman Pai, Opalesque Asia:

Activist investor Elliott Management disclosed on Wednesday that it had taken a more than 2.5% stake in the family-backed French spirits company Pernod Ricard.

Elliott wants the French drinks company to try to improve its performance via cost cuts and a potential merger with a rival. It also pushed for the addition of independent directors and more rigorous cost-cutting measures.

But the chief executive of Pernod, Alexandre Ricard, rejected Elliott's charge that the group would be a perennial under-performer with weak margins, defending his family company as "a beautiful success story" focused on long-term value creation.

Obviously, the 46-year-old CEO, one of the grandsons of the founder Paul Ricard, is bracing for a fight now that one of America's most feared activist investors has amassed a stake.

In a statement obtained by Opalesque, Christopher Rossbach, Chief Investment Officer of private investment office J. Stern & Co. - long time investor in Pernod - came out in open blasting Elliott's latest big bet on Pernod.

He said: "Pernod Ricard is the world's second largest spirit company with strong brands and a broad geographic reach, in particular in the fast growing markets of Asia, including China and India."

"Pernod benefits from long-term investment drivers including the premiumization of alcohol consumption in developed markets where consumers are willing to spend more to drink better, more expensive and more diffe......................

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