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Elliott Advisors, the British arm of Paul Singer’s US hedge fund, disclosed it has built up a 6.8 per cent stake in UK design consultancy WS Atkins, just weeks after the firm received a takeover approach.

SNC-Lavalin, the Canadian engineering and construction group, said on April 3 they had offered £2.08bn for the company.

Atkins serves private and public sector clients developing infrastructure projects, and its high-profile projects include the redesign of London’s Trafalgar Square, as well as the Dubai Opera. Founded in 1938, the company generates more than half of its revenues in the UK and Europe.

Elliott has been increasingly active in recent months, pressuring Akzo Nobel to enter into merger talks with PPG Industries and oust its chairman, partnering with a Chinese investor to buy the Italian football club AC Milan and winning a battle with Arconic to remove its chief executive.

A spokesman for Elliott declined to comment on the WS Atkins stake.

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