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Activist hedge fund Elliott Management is reportedly building a position in PayPal with a view to agitate for deeper cost cuts at the payments giant. PayPal has been slashing jobs and closing offices to reduce expenses for months amid a revenue slowdown.
PayPal shares were up more than 6% in pre-market trading Wednesday after media reports about Elliott’s investment. It isn’t clear how much stock Elliott holds but, according to Bloomberg, the activist may eventually become a top-five shareholder in PayPal.
The payments company’s many platforms are hurt by steep inflation, supply chain disruptions, and a return to in-person shopping. Worries about a slowing revenue growth have forced PayPal CEO Dan Schulman to come up with a plan aimed at saving roughly $260 million in annualized employee-related costs, in the hopes of improving the company’s operating leverage, according to the newswire.
PayPal’s stock is down 60% year-to-date while the market capitalization stands at nearly $90 billion, a far cry from its peak of $350 billion about a year ago. In February, the shares fell 24% in their worst-ever trading day after PayPal lowered its 2022 profit guidance.
Elliott’s venture, if confirmed, comes four years after one by fellow activist Third Point Partners. In July 2018, Dan Loeb’s firm said there was room for PayPal to improve profitability by slashing costs. It also suggested asset sales, dynamic pricing, and offline payments. The activist predicted a 50% jump in the stock to $125 within 18 months. Third Point exited PayPal’s share register in the fourth quarter of 2019, during which the stock traded between $95 and $110.