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Elliott's Pinterest stake could poke hole in e-commerce strategy

Jul 15, 2022

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.

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!

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