Elliott Takes New Stakes in QEP, Convergys, Exits Marathon

(Bloomberg) -- Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. built new stakes in customer-care outsourcing company Convergys Corp. and oil and gas explorer QEP Resources Inc. during the fourth quarter.

The New York-based hedge fund said it took a 4.9 percent stake in Convergys, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday. Convergys is one of the few publicly traded companies that operates in the outsourced customer-care industry, which has been consolidating in recent years. In 2016, Alorica Inc. acquired ESG Holdings Inc. from One Equity Partners for an undisclosed sum.

Elliott had a 4.4 percent stake in QEP at the end of December. The independent explorer’s share price has been under pressure, falling more than 53 percent over the past 12 months. Denver-based QEP also said Wednesday it was delaying financial and operational results scheduled for next week until March 1, “in order to allow additional time to finalize its 2018 business plans and strategy to deliver long-term shareholder returns.”

Elliott’s stakes in both QEP and Convergys are under the 5 percent threshold that would require them to file an active position with regulators. Shares in Convergys rose 7.8 percent in late trading in New York after Elliott disclosed its position to $23.45 a share.

Share in QEP rose 1 percent in late trading to $7.99.

Elliott has had a history of agitating in the oil and gas sector, including holding active positions in Hess Corp., Ocean Rig UDW Inc. and Energen Corp.

During the quarter, the firm exited its positions in Encana Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Ryanair Holdings Plc. while adding new positions in Caesars Entertainment Corp., Uniti Group Inc., Tidewater Inc. and Wipro Ltd., the filing shows. It also sold positions in Adient Plc, Advisory Board Co., Wyndham Worldwide Corp., Monsanto Co., Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. and EQT Corp., the filing shows.

Elliott increased its stake in Dell Technologies Inc., which has said it’s considering an initial public offering or a combination with VMware Inc. It also upped its holdings in mall operator Taubman Centers Inc., Hess and Energen and reduced its stakes in Alcoa Corp. and NRG Energy Inc., the filing shows.

Elliott this month renewed its calls for natural resource giant BHP Billiton Ltd. to review its dual structure, arguing a single company in Australia would add more than $22 billion in shareholder value. Elliott, which last commented publicly on BHP in August, said in a letter to Chairman Ken MacKenzie that it has been encouraged by recent decisions to exit U.S. shale, defer the Jansen potash project in Canada and review procedures to allocate capital.

Under pressure from Elliott, Athenahealth Inc., an online platform that helps doctors manage their practices, last week appointed former General Electric Co. chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt as chairman. Elliott disclosed a 9.2 percent stake in the company in May.

Elliott has active stakes in 25 different companies, including positions in NXP Semiconductors NV, Akamai Technologies Inc. and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Singer’s firm oversees more than $32 billion, investing across strategies including long-short hedge funds, distressed credit, arbitrage, real estate, shareholder activism and private equity.

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