UBS hires Schulte Roth partner to co-head activism defense group By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at a branch office in Zurich

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON (Reuters) – UBS has hired Aneliya Crawford, a partner from a leading law firm that works with hedge funds, to defend the investment bank’s corporate clients against attacks from activist investors.

Crawford, a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP who represented prominent activist hedge funds Elliott Management and Trian Fund Management, said she will join UBS next month as co-head of its shareholder activism practice.

Crawford, who joined Schulte in January 2017 from law firm Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP, will concentrate on North America while Darren Novak, who has headed the group from London, will focus on Europe.

Activist Insight first reported the move.

Schulte lawyers have moved from working for activists to defending against them before. In 2015, Schulte partner David Rosewater moved to head activism defense at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:).

Crawford will join a relatively small group of women working in activism defense including Allison Bennington at PJT Partners (NYSE:), Amy Lissauer at Bank of America (NYSE:), Mary Ann Deignan at Lazard (NYSE:) and Pamela Codo-Lotti at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:).

Defending corporate clients against activist hedge funds has become big business over the last years and many banks are expanding their services to help guide corporations when agitators, such as Starboard Value or Third Point (NYSE:), push for changes.

While activist campaigns ebbed last year amid the pandemic, the pace is expected to pick up more this year after a late 2020 uptick. Third Point, for example, pushed for chip maker Intel Corp (NASDAQ:) to stop a brain drain, hire new talent and explore strategic alternatives, a move that led to the company hiring a new CEO this month.

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