Billionaire Icahn part of 5% stake in Swedbank

Venture capital company Cevian Capital, led by Christer Gardell, and American billionaire Carl Icahn have together bought 4.64 percent of the shares in Swedbank, according to a disclosure notice on Monday.

Billionaire Icahn part of 5% stake in Swedbank
Carl Icahn with lawyer Paul O'Gara before New Jersey casino regulators in 2000

Gardell also seeks a seat on the bank’s election committee.

Through Cevian Capital Fund II, Cevian controls 3.58 percent of Swedbank’s shares, while Icahn directs another 1.06 percent.

Through his stake, Gardell is eligible for a position on Swedbank’s nomination committee, which votes on candidates for the organisation’s board.

However, Gardell declined to comment on whether he sees a need to reshuffle the board.

“I do not want to comment on this matter,” he said.

Cevian’s investment in Swedbank is long-term, according to Gardell.

“We see a potential for a further increase in value,” he said.

Gardell intends to communicate his projections to the board.

Icahn is one of the most famous corporate raiders from the US. Most recently, he acquired a 14 percent stake in Mentor Graphics last month. Forbes estimated his net worth as $10.5 billion in 2010, making him the 59th richest person in the world.

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Swedish bank’s IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

A technical problem at Sweden's Swedbank on Thursday night gave customers a nasty surprise, with their account balances inexplicably going negative, payments impossible, and Swish payments no longer working.

Swedish bank's IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

By 11.30pm, more than 2,000 Swedbank customers had reported the fault to the site Downdetector, and the problem was still not solved by 17.00pm on Friday. 

“We have an ongoing IT disruption where certain customers see an incorrect balance on their accounts,” a message on the bank’s app read. “The reason is a planned update to our internal systems which went wrong. We apologise, of course, for that and are working as quickly as possible to fix the problem.” 

The Swish payment service has also been affected, with the service, which is owned collectively by Swedish banks, reporting on its site that there was a “technical disruption at Swedbank and Sparbank which might affect Swish payments from these banks”. 

Some Swedbank customers posted their negative account balances on Twitter, expressing shock at the incorrect figures. 

The disruption comes at the worst possible time for many Swedes. Many people are paid on the 25th of the month, meaning this Friday marks the start of the payday weekend. Many will have also scheduled their bill payments for this Friday. 

Marko Saric from Malmö saw his account balance drop by 1.2 million kronor, going half a million kronor into the red. 

“It’s just totally crazy,” he told SVT. “We were going to go out and shop for the weekend. It’s lovely weather and the kids want to go out, but we can’t use our card. We’ve got no cash. Everything is in the bank.” 

“You’re just completely blocked. Colleagues need to make emergency food parcels for you. It’s just crazy that something like this should happen.” 

In its statement, the bank assured customers that their money was “secure”, and that the bank still had the correct information on what their account balance should be. 

“Customers who feel that they have suffered economic damage as a result of the disruption should contact the bank,” the message said.