US activist builds Glencore stake – by John Ficenec (The Telegraph – August 16, 2015)

Activist investor Harris Associates builds stake in FTSE 100 commodity and mining giant Glencore as it grapples with commodity rout and tumbling profits

One of America’s most influential activist investors has secretly amassed a stake in FTSE 100 mining giant Glencore as it attempts to wrestle with the dramatic fallout from tumbling commodity prices.

Harris Associates has built a £250m position in the world’s largest commodities trader in a move likely to pile further pressure on Glencore chief Ivan Glasenberg who faces a barrage of problems.

David Herro, the investment chief at the Chigaco based fund with $135bn under management, has an impressive track record against ambitious bosses, and could prove a formidable taskmaster for the combatitive Mr Glasenberg as he formulates a plan to turn around Glencore’s declining fortunes.

Mr Herro was instrumental in blocking Nick Buckles and G4S’s £5.2bn bid for ISS in 2011 and made his name in the early 1990s ousting the Saatchi brothers from their eponymous advertising firm.

Mr Glasenberg has made no secret of his desire for a mega-deal to buy one of the world’s largest miners of iron ore Rio Tinto, despite the collapse in prices. A formal takeover offer from Glencore was rejected by Rio Tinto in October last year.

Glencore’s troubles are expected to be confirmed this week when it unveils a big slump in earnings during the first half of the year. The company has been hit harder than its big rivals by the slowdown of China’s economy and has seen its share price slump by more than 60pc to reach a record low of 172.85p at the end of last week, ravaging Glencore’s stockmarket value.

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