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Barbarians in the Boardroom by Owen Walker

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Part 3

The settlements

7

Microsoft’s pivotal truce

Softly software approach

Jeffrey Ubben stepped onto the stage, gave his notes a brief shuffle and looked out at the audience. The conference room at the midtown Manhattan hotel was packed. It was April 2013 and the chief executive of hedge fund ValueAct Capital was about to give a speech at the Active-Passive Investor Summit, an annual get-together of activist investors, lawyers and advisers. Ubben had the pre-lunch slot, when attendees are most restless for caffeine and food. But Ubben had a presentation prepared that he knew would get them talking over their plates of lukewarm pasta.

Over the next 20 minutes, Ubben told the audience that his hedge fund had invested nearly $2 billion – a fifth ...

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