Activists and short-sellers zoning in on Newry tech firm

London-listed FD Technologies is attracting the sort of attention that usually worries executives and their boards especially when it is without explanation

The share register of FD Technologies, the Newry-headquartered tech firm run by Seamus Keating, gets more interesting with every passing week.

First there is the ever-growing stakebuilding by Irenic Capital Management, a New York activist investor that has in the past publicly taken on Rupert Murdoch among others over his plan to merge Fox and NewsCorp.

In recent days, Irenic has pushed its stake to 15 per cent, which at the current share price is worth not far off £60 million (€70 million).

Then there’s Newtyn Management, a New York-based investment fund that is not an activist per se, but has occasionally shown up alongside Irenic when that fund was being at its most bolshie.


Neither side has yet made any public statement on its intentions, particularly unusual for Irenic which occasionally indulges in a bit of megaphone diplomacy with a board that is not doing what it wants.

It’s possible that this is because FD is already doing what Irenic wants since it is in the midst of a big restructuring that involves splitting off two of its main units and spinning them into separate companies.

Just lately, though, there are some signs that institutional investors are not that impressed with the company’s actions. According to Shorttracker, a website that compiles data on short positions in UK-listed companies, three funds have begun to build up reasonably sizeable bets against FD Technologies’ shares just lately.

ActusRayPartners, a Hong Kong-based fund founded by Andrew Alexander, Raymond Chan and Patrick Cheung, has built up a position against 0.72 per cent of the company’s shares, equivalent to about £2.5 million worth of shares. Marshall Wace, the London hedge fund founded by Paul Marshall and Ian Wace in 1997, has a bet against 0.7 per cent, worth roughly the same again. JP Morgan Asset Management has gone much bigger, with a 1.96 per cent stake, valued at about £7 million.

All three have recently nudged up the size of their individual positions, which makes for a very interesting few weeks ahead for Keating and FD Technologies.