Elliott Management's billionaire manager Paul Singer is sparing no expense when it comes to his director-election battle at embattled Arconic (ARNC) .
The activist investor - in an unprecedented move - even mailed thousands of mini-player devices to retail investors each with one short four-minute video explaining the activist's position at a targeted company.
The video distribution, rarely seen in contests, comes as Singer's fund seeks to install four dissident director candidates onto Arconic's board at the company's recently rescheduled annual meeting, set for May 25. Arconic earlier this month nominated two new management-backed directors with aerospace expertise to its board in a move that is intended to bolster its support among investors. That effort comes after the company's embattled former chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld resigned last month after he sent an unauthorized letter to Singer's fund that the company's board said demonstrated poor judgment.
Arconic has a substantial retail base, which represents about 30% of outstanding shares and both the company and Elliott are furiously soliciting them for support. Retail investors generally are more pro-management than institutional investors when it comes to director election battles. The category of investors usually includes employees and ex-employees of the company. In this case, many employees and ex-employees of Alcoa, which split off from Arconic in a transaction completed in November, may also own shares.
Distributing actual video players, one of which was obtained by TheStreet, to thousands of retail investors clearly indicates that Elliott has spent a significant amount of capital to shore up support among retail shareholders in advance of the director battle.