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Activist Elliott Management Takes $2 Billion Stake In Southwest Airlines

Shares of Southwest Airlines (LUV) are up 8% on media reports that activist investor Elliott Investment Management has built a nearly $2 billion U.S. stake in the carrier.

Privately held Elliott has become one of Southwest Airlines' largest investors and plans to push for changes to reverse the company’s prolonged slump.

Southwest, the biggest discount airline in America, has struggled in recent years with the Covid-19 pandemic, a systemwide collapse, labour unrest, and delays in new aircraft deliveries.

Elliott Investment Management is one of the world's most influential activist investors and has a reputation for taking big stakes in publicly traded companies and then agitating for change.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal newspaper, Elliott Management plans to actively engage with Southwest's executive team.

Southwest is not the only airline that has struggled since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

However, with air travel back to record levels, many analysts expected Southwest’s stock to perform better than it has.

At $27.75 U.S. per share, the stock of Southwest Airlines is today trading 47% lower than where it was at five years ago. The stock has declined 12% over the past year.