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Elliott Management Hedge Fund Plans to Close Hong Kong Office

(Bloomberg) — Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. plans to close its office in Hong Kong, and move its remaining staff there to offices in London and Tokyo, according to a person familiar with the matter.The New York-based hedge fund, run by billionaire Paul Singer, has been winding down its Hong Kong operations in recent years, and had fewer than 20 employees there when it stopped trading and investment activities on Jan. 1, the person said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.The shift began in early 2018 when the firm’s then-head of Hong Kong, James Smith, moved to London and began running its Asian operations from the U.K. Smith left the firm the following year. Since then, the bulk of Elliott’s Asian operations have been run out of London and Tokyo, including its recent activist campaigns at SoftBank Group Corp. and Unizo Holdings Co., the person said.At the time of Smith’s departure, there were fewer than 40 employees in the Hong Kong office, and the decision to close the office was not related to the political instability in the region in recent years, the person said.A representative for Elliott declined to comment.Elliott has run several other activist campaigns in the region over the years, including pushing for changes at Hyundai Motor Co., Samsung Electronics Co., and the Bank of East Asia Ltd., among others. While much of its recent activist campaigns in Asia in recent years centered on South Korea and Japan, it engaged in years-long court proceedings to push Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia to sell itself. Under pressure, the bank agreed to start a process of selling its life insurance unit last year.South Korea, under President Moon Jae-in, has been trying to change its reputation as a stock market dominated by family-controlled conglomerates that lack accountability. Elliott, which was founded by Singer in 1977, had more than $45 billion in assets under management at the end of 2020. The Financial Times first reported on the firm’s plans to close its Hong Kong office.(Updates with details about changes in South Korea in seventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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