In 1984 Christer Gardell earned a bachelors degree in business studies at Stockholm School of Economics. He then worked at McKinsey & Company and was appointed CEO of Swedish investment company AB Custos from 1996 to 2001. In 2002, he co-founded (with Lars Förberg) the investment firm Amaranth Capital and in 2003 the name was changed to Cevian Capital.
The fund invests capital for “active ownership” or “activist” investment strategy. In 2006, Cevian launched Cevian Capital II, the largest dedicated active ownership fund in Europe with more than €10 billion of AUM as of April 2017.
The fund holds major investments in several companies on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, including Volvo. Past investments have included Lindex, Skandia, and TeliaSonera.
Christer Gardell is Europe’s most activist investor. He is considered to be Europe’s Carl Icahn.
Christer Gardell is the co-founder of Cevian Capital which is Europe’s largest activist hedge fund with 15.5 billion USD AUM.
Christer Gardell is a long term value activist investor.
“We only do activist investing. We have a very concentrated portfolio of 14 positions, and we sit on the board of 10 of them. Our average holding period is four to five years.”
“We are looking to at least double our investment value in a three-year time period. And in the worst-case scenar, we shouldn’t lose more than 20% of our capital.”
Christer Gardell fund invests mostly in service companies, industrial companies, and very specific places in the financial services industry. They do not invest in risky industries where the outcomes can be significantly worse, like technology, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
“We don’t have a hostile approach; we have a constructive approach. We back up our ideas with solid arguments and solid facts.”
Christer Gardell buys good companies at bargain prices that are out of favour or that are underperforming.
We don’t have a hostile approach; we have a constructive approach. We back up our ideas with solid arguments and solid facts – Christer Gardell
See the interview with Christer Gardell below for an insight into how he became one of the world top investors.
Shareholder activism is less common in Europe than in the US. The shareholder activist aims to unlock shareholder value of a company by investing in the company’s stock, then as owners they assert their powers over the company with the purpose of steering the business to profitability.
Activists can increase shareholder value by influencing or changing management. They can also encourage strategic mergers and acquisitions when it is in the shareholder’s interests. But shareholder activism also has a shady side. Some critics believe that activists are nothing more than “corporate butchers” destroying corporations for short term profits.
Perhaps the takeaway from all this is that when the activist investors piles into a stock standby for the elevator lift in that stock price. So identifying who the activists are and their activities is another way of riding the smart money wave.
We only do activist investing. We have a very concentrated portfolio of 14 positions, and we sit on the board of 10 of them. Our average holding period is four to five years – Christer Gardell
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