Family-backed Pernod Ricard has change in mind
With activist investor Elliott Management on its back, the company says it will communicate on future changes once approved
Paris — French family-backed spirits group Pernod Ricard, which is being targeted by activist investor Elliott Management, said it is striving to improve its governance and will communicate on future changes once they have been approved by its board.
“We have not needed any external input as regards our continuous drive to seek to improve our governance,” said a company spokesperson to Reuters on Friday. “We will continue, at the appropriate moment, to announce further changes once they have been proposed, discussed and adopted by the board and its committee.”
Pernod Ricard is holding a board meeting on January 23.
On Thursday, BFM Business reported that Pernod — which owns Absolut vodka and Martell cognac — will make changes to its board in the coming weeks, with vice-chair Pierre Pringuet among those that could take a step back.
Elliott, which has become more active in Europe in recent years, said in December it had spent about €930m building a stake of just more than 2.5% in Pernod Ricard. Elliott has called on Pernod to improve profit margins and governance.
Elliott believes Pernod’s 14-member board needs more independence and diversity as many directors are linked to the Ricard family.
Elliott and Pernod managers met on January 15 and agreed to continue discussions on margins and governance, a source close to the matter told Reuters earlier this week.