Nordea May Be About to Get Activist Investor as New Owner

(Bloomberg) -- Swedish activist investor Cevian Capital may be considering buying a stake in Nordea Bank Abp after its share price fell by almost a fifth this year.

  • Cevian has recently analyzed both Nordea and its competitors and could be close to investing in the Helsinki-based bank, the Dagens Industri newspaper reported late on Monday, without saying where it got the information
  • Nordea shares rose as much as 3.1 percent on Tuesday, their biggest gain since mid-July
Nordea May Be About to Get Activist Investor as New Owner

Key Insights

  • Cevian’s arrival on the scene could pressure the biggest Nordic bank to focus more on addressing its weak revenue development, Jefferies says; it’s also worth noting that Nordea’s biggest shareholder, Sampo Oyj, recently ripped into the bank for its “disappointing” returns
  • Cevian has a reputation for building large stakes and taking board seats for maximum clout, though it also makes purely financial investments
  • Meanwhile, Nordea is 19 percent cheaper now than it was at the end of last year, amid concerns about its return on equity, its revenue performance and even allegations of anti-money laundering breaches

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  • Nordea is in the middle of a giant transformation to become a digital bank; it has invested heavily in IT and is cutting about 6,000 jobs as robots replace humans
  • According to Dagens Industri, Cevian may already have bought as many as 34 million shares, held in a UBS Group AG depot in London that Cevian has used before, though it’s not clear the shares belong to Cevian
  • Cevian Managing Partner Christer Gardell declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg on Tuesday; Nordea spokeswoman Afroditi Kellberg said the bank doesn’t comment on “rumors”

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