Elliott’s Paul Singer Buys More of GE’s 3-D Printer Target

  • Hedge fund intends to ‘exert influence’ at Germany’s SLM
  • GE is trying to bolster its additive manufacturing capability

Billionaire Paul Singer is boosting his stake in a German 3D printer company after General Electric Co. this month announced it was pursuing an acquisition.

Singer, founder of hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., plans to acquire additional voting rights in SLM Solutions Group AG in the next 12 months, he said Wednesday in a filing after surpassing the 10 percent threshold. Singer, who owns 16 percent of SLM’s shares, also intends to “exert influence” over matters such as the company’s capital structure and the makeup of managing and supervisory bodies.

GE announced plans this month to buy SLM and Sweden’s Arcam AB for a combined $1.4 billion in a significant expansion of its 3D-printing capabilities. GE is making greater use of so-called additive manufacturing as it focuses on building industrial equipment with digital capabilities.

Singer may be trying “to gain some leverage potentially to get a higher price, either from GE or another competitive bidder,” said Jeff Windau, an analyst at Edward Jones. While the proposed price is already high relative to SLM’s sales, 3-D printing offers opportunities to save on manufacturing costs, which could draw interest from other buyers, he said.

GE offered 38 euros ($33.88) a share for SLM, a 37 percent premium over the closing price the day prior to the original announcement, the Boston-based company said in a Sept. 26 offer document. SLM rose 0.2 percent to 42.765 euros at 9:13 a.m. Thursday in Frankfurt.

Second-largest

Singer owns 2.9 million shares of SLM, making him the second-largest holder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. His firm, which owns stakes in companies such as Monsanto Co. and LifeLock Inc., sometimes wages activist campaigns in which it tries to influence executives and directors to make changes to a company’s direction. Elliott didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“GE has made a compelling, high-premium offer for SLM shareholders,” Rick Kennedy, a GE spokesman, said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. “GE has committed to make significant investments to develop SLM further by extending its equipment and product offerings -- all while retaining its headquarters, management team and employees.”

SLM management plans to meet with Elliott’s leaders, but no date has been set, said Maximilian Breuer, a spokesman for the company. He declined to comment on Singer’s filing or GE’s bid price.

Elliott is also the fourth-largest shareholder of Swedish 3D-printer maker Arcam, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. GE has offered 5.86 billion kronor ($680 million), or 285 kronor a share, for Arcam. The shares were unchanged at 293 kronor at 9:13 a.m. in Stockholm.

Arcam CEO Magnus Rene said by e-mail that management hasn’t had conversations with Elliott about the shareholding. The board “has not changed their standpoint, they recommend the shareholders to accept the offer,” he said.

— With assistance by Beth Jinks, Liezel Hill, and Katia Porzecanski

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