Swedish activist investor Cevian Capital has recently acquired a €1.2 billion ($1.31 billion) stake in UBS AG, causing the stock to climb. This investment represents a 1.3% stake in the company, placing Cevian among the top 10 major shareholders of UBS.
According to Lars Förberg, managing partner and co-founder of Cevian Capital, there is significant potential for value in UBS. Förberg commended the board and management team for their successful integration of Credit Suisse and expressed confidence in their commitment to further enhance UBS.
Both the U.S.-listed UBS stock and the Zurich-listed UBS shares experienced an increase of over 2% on Tuesday. In fact, UBS’s stock has risen by 50% this year, marking its strongest annual return since 1997.
UBS experienced a notable upturn in the latter half of 2023, mainly due to its acquisition of rival bank Credit Suisse. Following Credit Suisse’s collapse earlier this year, UBS capitalized on the opportunity to reinforce its position as the largest global wealth manager with exceptional market presence and financial stability.
Förberg argues that if UBS were to close its valuation gap with U.S.-based Morgan Stanley, with a price-to-tangible-book ratio of 2 times, its stock would be valued at 50 francs per share—almost double its current price.
Cevian Capital, established in 2002, considers itself a “constructive activist” and claims to be the most significant and experienced firm of its kind in Europe. Their approach involves actively engaging with their investments, which will also be the case with UBS.
UBS has chosen not to comment on this development.