He was born in Vichy in 1940, an Austrian mother and a French father, Eugene, a financial specialist in trade-off. This technique consists of taking advantage of market imperfections, for example playing on the difference of prices of a stock listed in two different markets.
After the war, his father moved to New York and in 1967 he merged his firm with a large securities firm Bache & Co. Guy became a U.S. citizen and spent several years in Vietnam in the Marine Corps, as an instructor. Then he stopped his career and followed the lead of his father. In 1971, he took the head of Bache’s department of trade-off and published several books about this subject.
At that time, Guy Wyser-Pratte is one the first interested in shareholder activism. The principle is simple: use the "capitalist democracy" in favor of shareholders. He spots a listed company undervalued, takes a share of its capital and applies pressure on the management to improve the return to shareholders. Handovers, mergers, dividends, share buy-back: all means are good.
Pioneer in activism in the United States, Guy Wyser-Pratte transposes it in Europe in the 90’s, banking on the delay of Europe in terms of corporate governance. In 1996 with his holding in New –York Wyser-Pratte Management & Co, he assaults Strafor-Facom, a French manufacturer of office furniture and equipment, which he wins the scission.
Then comes the turn of Taittinger, Vivarte, Prosody, Ingenico, Valeo, Maurel & Prom Mobilcom. In Germany he grappled with Vossloh, Mannesmann, and TUI.
In total, Wyser-Pratte has grappled with the leaders of about 80 listed companies. A job that pays: his annual return on investment is around 20 to 30%.
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