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Pinterest gets the Elliott Management treatment

Jul 15, 2022
Illustration of Pinterest badge logo under dark clouds

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Shortly after Pinterest's CEO shakeup, Elliott Management Corp. has built up a 9% stake in the company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Why it matters: That big stake has drawn speculation for a future sale or other massive changes, similar to how Elliott pressured Twitter.

State of play: Pinterest's potential acquirers could range from a social media platform to a fintech company.

  • Meta/Twitter/Snap/TikTok: Each of the social platforms has its own commerce features. Meta would probably be the most likely buyer due to its family of apps strategy. Pinterest could serve as a dedicated shopping app.
  • PayPal/Square/Shopify: A fintech company could use Pinterest as a storefront for its payment features. PayPal was in talks to buy Pinterest last year. Square or Shopify could pitch it as another tool for small businesses to promote their products.
  • Private equity: Pinterest posted its first full-year profit in 2021. But it reported a $5 million net loss and a decline in monthly active users last quarter. A firm could come in and look for ways to streamline the business.

Yes, but: Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann, who stepped down as CEO last month to become executive chairman, owns about a 37% voting stake in Pinterest that could limit Elliott's power, WSJ noted.

  • Pinterest has been making its own bets to build up its commerce capabilities. Last month, it acquired the personalized shopping platform The Yes.

💭 Thought bubble, via Axios Pro Retail Deals' Kimberly Chin: The move could hinder Pinterest's e-commerce play. Elliott's stake suggests it could take Pinterest in a different path — perhaps by reinvigorating its ad business.

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