Activist Investors Throw in the Towel as Market Turmoil Rages

Activist shareholders are giving up on some of their campaigns amid historic market volatility.

Elliott Management Corp. dropped its opposition Wednesday toAltran Technologies SA’s $4 billion takeover byCapgemini SE, citing “current market conditions.” The investment firm led by Paul Singer said it will sell its stake in Altran to Capgemini, after arguing for months that the the deal undervalued the French technology consulting firm.

Robert Tchenguiz, who had been challengingFirstGroup Plc’s management for at least four months, announced Wednesday that he no longer holds a material interest in the transport operator. Tchenguiz “regrettably” sold his stake in FirstGroup, which owns the Greyhound bus line, “due to the unprecedented circumstances and the consequential challenges the world is now facing,” he said in a Londonfiling.

The U.K.-based investor said he still supports the changes being proposed by fellow activist Coast Capital and is “sorry” he won’t be able to participate in the value creation that the plan will deliver.

They’re not the only ones sounding a note of caution. Billionaire Bill Ackman, who runsPershing Square Capital Management, said Wednesday the U.S. will enter a “Depression-era period” and millions of people will die globally until a vaccine becomes available.Boeing Co. won’tsurvive without a government bailout, and the hotel and restaurant industries could go bankrupt if there’s a prolonged shutdown, the hedge fund manager said in a CNBC interview.

To be sure, activist investing remains alive and well.

Mason P. Slainedisclosed a stake in Tribune Publishing Co. Wednesday, saying the newspaper chain should consider selling its BestReviews division, according to a regulatory filing.

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