Elliott's Pinterest stake could poke hole in e-commerce strategy
The disclosure of hedge fund Elliott Management’s 9% stake in Pinterest via the WSJ could be a hindrance to the company’s e-commerce play.
Why it's the BFD: The recent move to bring on new CEO Bill Ready was a way to ready the ship (excuse the pun) and move Pinterest toward e-commerce.
Catch up fast: The company tapped former Google commerce business exec Ready last month. He brings e-commerce chops from his experience at PayPal, Braintree and Venmo.
- Right before Ready took the helm, Pinterest snagged online fashion-shopping platform The Yes, bringing another retail heavyweight (Julie Bornstein) among its ranks.
- The company recently rolled out a suite of new shopping tools to help merchants better reach shoppers on its platform.
Yes, but: Online consumer spending has declined lately and the technology sector is facing headwinds like climbing interest rates, inflation and international conflicts.
What’s next: As our Media Deals colleague Kerry Flynn notes, the big stake has drawn speculation for a future sale or other massive changes, similar to how Elliott pressured Twitter.
- Pinterest's potential acquirers could range from a social media platform to fintech companies, Kerry writes.
- Among the possible suitors floated are Meta, Snap, TikTok, Square and Shopify (for which it has a partnership) and private equity.
Flashback: PayPal, still another possible contender, was in talks to buy the social media company for $45 billion. That effort was shelved following shareholder backlash, per the WSJ.
Threat level: Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann, who transitioned from CEO to executive chairman, owns an approximately 37% voting stake in the company, which could limit Elliott's power, WSJ reports.
💭 Our thought bubble: Elliott’s stake suggests it could be taking the company on a different path — perhaps by reinvigorating its ad business. Stay tuned for more reporting!