Elliott exits AT&T after waging a fight in 2019; Starboard exits eBay

(Reuters) – Elliott Management, which last year took a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T and pushed the company to sell some assets, has itself exited the telecommunications and media company, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

The New York-based hedge fund liquidated its investment when it sold 5 million shares during the quarter that ended Sept. 30. It had first bought into the stock during the third quarter 2019, according to another filing.

Investment companies are required to say what U.S. stocks they own at the end of each quarter. While these filings are made with a delay, they often shed light on investment trends that are closely watched by other investors.

Elliott, which invests $41 billion and is known as one of the world’s busiest corporate activists, originally criticized AT&T for operational missteps and its takeover strategy as well as its choice of leaders. But by the time company veteran John Stankey succeeded AT&T’s long-time CEO, Randall Stephenson, as its chief in July, Elliott had come around to the choice.

Among its many investments, Elliott did not make any changes to its stake in eBay , another company where it pushed for changes in 2019. The filing shows that Elliott owned 9.9 million shares in eBay even after Jesse Cohn, the partner who runs Elliott’s U.S. activism practice, stepped off its board in September.

Elliott won the eBay seat in March 2019.

Starboard Value, another influential activist investor, which also reached a settlement with eBay in early 2019 and was able to fill one seat on eBay’s board, sold off the rest of its stake during the third quarter, a filing shows.

The hedge fund sold 2,090,000 eBay shares after having already sold three quarters of its stake during the second quarter, filings showed.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Leslie Adler

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