Feb 4, 2019

Activist investors are poaching opportunities from private equity

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Both private equity and activist investor funds are considered alternative asset classes, but the latter is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to the former.

The bottom line: Activists for years have helped create private equity opportunities by agitating for sales. Now they're beginning to take some of those opportunities themselves.

Driving the news: Starboard Value today agreed to invest $200 million into Papa John's, after the troubled pizza chain failed to secure attractive enough private equity offers during a four-month auction process.

  • The deal also includes another $50 million infusion by the end of March, with Starboard's Jeffrey Smith being named chairman.
  • Papa John's namesake John Schnatter reportedly voted against the deal, thus extending his recent losing streak.

And Elliott Associates, after failing to successfully work with Apollo Global Management on an Arconic takeover, is seeking to raise $2 billion for an actual takeover fund — not so much evolving into private equity but seeking to co-opt it.

Go deeper: Public pension plans target private equity

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Exclusive: Trump's "Deep State" hit list

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: WPA Pool/Getty Pool, Drew Angerer/Getty Staff

The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them — according to more than a dozen sources familiar with the effort who spoke to Axios.

Driving the news: By the time President Trump instructed his 29-year-old former body man and new head of presidential personnel to rid his government of anti-Trump officials, he'd gathered reams of material to support his suspicions.

Exclusive: Anti-Sanders campaign targets black South Carolina voters

Courtesy of The Big Tent Project

The Big Tent Project, a Democratic political group focused on promoting moderate presidential candidates, has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers bashing Bernie Sanders to black voters in South Carolina who voted in the state's 2016 primary.

Why it matters: Sanders' rise to the top of the pack, as dueling moderate candidates split their side of the vote, is worrying many in the Democratic political establishment who fear a socialist can't beat President Trump.

Inside the fight over FBI surveillance powers

Carter Page. Photo: Artyom Korotayev\TASS via Getty Images

Over the past year, President Trump has told senior administration officials, including Attorney General Bill Barr, that he wants a major overhaul of national security surveillance powers and the secret court that approves them.

Behind the scenes: In one such discussion last year about the need to reauthorize government authorities to surveil U.S. citizens, Trump went so far as to say he'd rather get rid of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) altogether.