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Dec 09, 2015

Olshan Frome Wolosky leads law firms on activist investor campaigns

Wall Street law firm says Avon marks its 80th campaign of the year

Olshan Frome Wolosky ranked at the top of the list of law firms engaged to assist shareholders in activist campaigns this year, with almost four times as many campaigns as the next-most active law firm in the sector, according to a study by Activist Insight.

Olshan had been involved in 74 activist campaigns by the time the study concluded and was published in the December issue of Activism Monthly Premium, while Schulte Roth & Zabel placed a distant second, with 20 activist campaigns.

In a message on Twitter on December 4, Olshan – whose activist practice is led by partner Steven Wolosky – said the number of campaigns it has been involved in this year had climbed to 80, adding that ‘there’s still 27 days to go to reach 100 and campaigns are launching left and right’.

The firm said a campaign at Avon Products by investor Barington Capital to oppose the company’s planned sale of its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management marked Olshan’s 80th campaign of the year. Olshan has also worked with Lone Star Value Management, Starboard Value, and others.

The publication quotes Andrew Freedman, an Olshan partner who specializes in activism, as saying both established activist investors and others new to activism have kept the firm busy this year.

In third place in the ranking of law firms involved in activist campaigns is Kleinberg Kaplan Wolff & Cohen with eight campaigns, followed by Thompson Hine with six, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn with four, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Bryan Cave with three each, and Kane Kessler and Foley Hoag with two each.

Among proxy solicitation firms, Mackenzie Partners, which advised companies in 17 activist campaigns this year, also advised activists in four campaigns. DF King & Co advised issuers in 10 campaigns and activists in eight, while Innisfree advised issuers in nine and activists in six.

Activism Monthly Premium says more law firms that have traditionally advised issuers in proxy contests are now advising activists as well.