Outspoken Tech Investor Jackson to Drop Activism With New Fund

  • Jackson left role as SpringOwl managing director in December
  • New hedge fund is backed by an unidentified internet executive

Eric Jackson, an outspoken investor whose barbs have targeted Apple Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Viacom Inc., plans to turn his back on activism to start a new hedge fund.

Jackson left as managing director at SpringOwl Asset Management LLC in December and plans to launch the as yet unnamed new fund in the middle of this year, he said. The investments will focus on technology, media and telecommunications companies.

Eric Jackson

Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

“I can accomplish more and I think my returns will be better served for my investors by taking a friendlier approach, versus the more confrontational approach,” Jackson said. “Ultimately in the investing world, you’re judged by your returns and ideas, not how loudly you can scream into the megaphone.”

In almost eight years at Ironfire Capital LLC and then in his year at SpringOwl, Jackson urged Apple to use its vast cash reserves to do more deals, called for board shakeups at Yahoo and criticized executive pay at Viacom. The initial backer of his new venture is an internet executive who Jackson declined to identify.

SpringOwl has more than $100 million in assets under management, not including real estate, private equity and venture capital holdings.

Jackson still plans to invest in publicly traded stocks with the new fund. He previously founded Naples, Florida-based Ironfire in 2007.

“There is going to be a lot of media disruption over the next few years,” he said. “The whole media space is going to go through a lot of change.”

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