Elliott builds US$1bil stake in Johnson Controls Inc

Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

NEW YORK: Activist investor Elliott Investment Management has built a large position in industrial giant Johnson Controls International Plc, whose performance has lagged its peers, according to people familiar with the matter.

The hedge fund’s position is worth more than US$1bil, putting it among the top 10 investors of the company, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.

A representative for Johnson Controls didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours. A spokesperson for Elliott declined to comment.

Shares of Johnson Controls have risen 9.2% in the past year, giving it a market value of about US$46.5bil as of LAST Friday.

Peers such as Carrier Global Corp and Lennox International Inc have seen their stocks appreciate more than 50% during the same period.

Johnson Controls, along with rivals Carrier and Lennox, are leading players in HVAC control, which has seen a boom because it’s crucial in cooling data centers. The climate-control equipment is also used in semiconductor and electric vehicle manufacturing facilities.

The company, incorporated in Ireland and with main offices in Milwaukee, is led by Chief Executive Officer George Oliver, who was CEO of Tyco International before it combined with Johnson Controls in 2016. Since 2020, Johnson Controls has seen senior executive turnovers including for chief financial officer. Marc Vandiepenbeeck was appointed to the role this year.

While Elliott’s intentions for the stake couldn’t immediately be learned, several of its recent investments precipitated C-suite turnovers. — Bloomberg

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