Bloomfield Hills-based mall owner pushed for change

Scott Deveau, Ed Hammond and Sarah Mulholland
Bloomberg News

Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. disclosed a new 3.8 percent stake in Bloomfield Hills-based mall owner Taubman Centers Inc., which was already facing a shareholder activist campaign.

The New York hedge fund is pushing for changes at the shopping mall owner, including a potential sale, said people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information was private. Elliott has held discussions with the company and is urging it to explore being taken private, among other options, the people said.

Elliott disclosed its position in Taubman in a regulatory filing Tuesday after Bloomberg first reported it late Monday. Shares in the company jumped as much as 6.7 percent Tuesday and closed up 4.8 percent at $56.37. Shares fell 0.9 percent Wednesday to $55.88.

A representative for Elliott declined to comment. A representative for Taubman Centers didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In addition to Taubman, Elliott took new positions during the third quarter in Investors Bancorp Inc., EQT Corp., GTY Technology Holdings Inc. and Vantage Energy Acquisition Corp., according to the filing. It exited its positions in takeover target Nord Anglia Education Inc., home builder PulteGroup Inc. and LogMeIn Inc., the filing shows.

Elliott increased its stake in Hess Corp. and Nomad Foods Ltd. during the quarter. It also upped its stake in NXP Semiconductors NV, which it contends is being undervalued in a proposed $40 billion acquisition by Qualcomm Inc. That effort has been complicated by Broadcom Ltd.’s unsolicited $105 billion bid for Qualcomm.

Elliott Management unsuccessfully tried to engineer a takeover bid for Detroit-based software and consulting company Compuware in 2012. Compuware was later sold to Chicago-based private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo LLC.

Taubman Centers has already been targeted by Land & Buildings Investment Management, the activist fund run by Jonathan Litt. Land & Buildings has said the mall owner needs to cut costs or consider putting itself up for sale. In June, Litt lost a proxy fight at the company, failing in his effort to replace Taubman’s chairman and chief executive officer, Robert Taubman, and lead director Myron E. Ullman III.

Earlier this month, Taubman Centers, which is a real estate investment trust, said it had appointed two new independent directors, among other measures aimed at enhancing its governance.

The company operates 24 malls across the U.S., including high-end destinations in New Jersey and Los Angeles. Its shares have fallen 24 percent this year, underperforming the Dow Jones Equity REIT Total Return Index, which has gained 10 percent.