Activist investor Elliott buys stake in Japan’s Sumitomo, source says

By Thomson Reuters Apr 29, 2024 | 9:52 PM

By Anton Bridge

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management Corp has bought a stake in Sumitomo Corp worth several tens of billions of yen, a person familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The purchase follows Warren Buffett’s closely watched investment in the Japanese trading house.

The person did not give an exact figure for the Sumitomo transaction and asked not to be identified because the purchase has not been publicly disclosed. Ten billion yen is equal to around $64 million.

Sumitomo declined to comment.

Excitement among global investors over long-awaited corporate governance changes and improved shareholder returns at Japanese companies has pushed share prices to records and fuelled a spate of activist investor campaigns in recent years.

Elliott is one of the world’s most influential activist investors and has been proactive in Japan, recently targeting automotive battery component supplier Dai Nippon Printing and real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett announced in 2020 that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, had acquired stakes in Japan’s top five trading houses, including Sumitomo.

Berkshire Hathaway has raised its stake in each of the five firms to around 9%, it said in its annual report in February.

Sumitomo shares jumped more than 7% in trading on Tuesday after markets were closed for a national holiday on Monday.

Bloomberg News first reported the investment on Sunday.

($1 = 156.8600 yen)

(Reporting by Anton Bridge; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)