This past summer luxury goods group Richemont, owner of watch brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, IWC, Officine Panerai & Jaeger-LeCoultre, successfully defended against a proposal for change by activist investor Bluebell Capital. At that time, Bluebell Capital was gunning for a change at the table of Richemont’s board, which is no small matter. That push for change failed and they are now back for another round in the ring. This time, Bluebell wants Richemont’s succession plan to be made public.
Bluebell Capital “invests in attractive businesses at a significant discount to intrinsic value and seeks to increase shareholder value through constructive engagement”. It owns around 1% of shares in Richemont. As an investor in Richemont they are aiming for positive change at Richemont, so they can hopefully see their investment grow in value.
Johann Rupert, Richemont Chairman who owns around 10% of shares in Richemont, stated previously that Richemont has “a solid succession plan that had the full support of the board” (that same board where Bluebell is pushing for change). Bluebell therefore followed up by stating “it seems hardly questionable that the succession plan unanimously approved by the board is a price-sensitive fact which would be capable of triggering a significant change in market prices”. As a result, they request this unanimously approved information be made public. To that effect, Bluebell Capital’s co-founders Giuseppe Bivona and Marco Taricco made the request in a September 27 letter to the SIX Swiss Exchange Regulation AG. The content of the letter hasn’t been made public, however a copy has been reviewed by Bloomberg News.
Having initially failed at getting the desired changes at the board level, it is ‘news’ in and by itself that Bluebell continues its pursuit for change at Richemont. It is not unusual for an activist investor to move on to its next target once their grand opening punch fails to land. This next move however seems to indicate Bluebell has yet to throw the towel in the ring. This story will therefore surely be continued.
See Richemont’s initial (and official) response to Bluebell’s push for change right here.