Salesforce avoids proxy fight with Elliott

Salesforce avoids proxy fight with Elliott

Peace after profit boost.

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Salesforce and Elliott Management have reached an agreement where the activist investor ends its boardroom challenge as the software company focuses more on boosting profits and efficiency.

The announcement made by both sides comes less than a month after Elliott nominated a slate of director candidates and Salesforce reported stronger than expected financial results and made promises for more cost cuts.

"Elliott decided not to proceed with director nominations, and Salesforce and Elliott committed to continuing the productive working relationship they have developed together," the two said in a joint statement.

Salesforce, valued at US$190 billion (S$252 billion), has said it would double its share buybacks to US$20 billion and move away from buying more companies after disbanding its mergers and acquisitions committee.

Recently the company also signalled more layoffs may be coming as it keeps cutting costs to improve profitability.

These steps satisfied Elliott and allowed the activist, which invests over US$55 billion in assets and has successfully pushed for change at companies ranging from eBay to Suncor, to avoid an expensive proxy contest, a source familiar with the matter said.

Elliott declined to comment beyond the statement.

Salesforce has faced pressure to improve operations for months as investors including ValueAct, Inclusive Capital and Starboard Value separately pushed for changes and engaged with the company.

After Elliott in January emerged as the latest activist in Salesforce's stock, the company refreshed its board with three new directors and handed one seat to ValueAct's chief Mason Morfit.

Salesforce's stock price has surged 48 percent from December 2022 when activists began pushing their case for change more forcefully with the company.

The stock traded largely flat at US$190 on Monday.

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