Activism Archive

Nov 15, 2018
Should CEOs be public activists?
Activism is everywhere. From the streets of our neighborhoods and fiery boardroom meetings to political junkies and those motivated by local or social causes, there is no shortage of issues being brought to our attention by commentators and keyboard warriors continuously trawling through and analyzing who said what. In some instances, this has given rise to a new type of CEO: the ‘activist’. This creature takes different forms: publicly outspoken, actively invol...
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Oct 26, 2018
Investor dissent rising over board appointments
An annual review by corporate governance firm Equiniti reveals that more shareholders are speaking out about board appointments they either don’t agree with or that they say lack substance. Annual meetings increasingly involve questions about the election of key board members, where normally, firms simply explain their spending decisions to investors, Equinity data shows. Data from 345 UK AGMs recorded by Equi...
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Oct 19, 2018
Unilever: How key-man risk destroyed investor trust
One of the world’s largest, most-respected companies has just received a very public humiliation from its shareholders, providing a timely reminder that no matter how large the organization, no matter how charismatic the leader, no matter how effective the management team, all companies must answer to their shareowners.  Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company, maker of much-loved global brands s...
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Sep 10, 2018
Shareholder activism sees uptick in Asia
Asian companies have seen the most shareholder activism campaigns so far this year, outside of the US, according to new data from Activist Insight. The research provider’s numbers for August show a notable uptick in public campaigns across Asia, with 90 so far this year, compared with 60 over the same period in 2017. While this is way off the numbers fo...
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Aug 14, 2018
Activists are rebranding as a ‘force for good’
The image of the activist shareholder has changed, especially in Asia. Accused of being short term, secretive corporate raiders in the past, activists are now careful to position themselves as ‘change agents’, helping companies unlock value and drive growth. Today, shareholder activists are very willing to play the long game, as can be seen by Elliot Management’s multi-year campaign against Samsung in South Korea, and have been claiming high-profile suc...
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Jul 06, 2018
Are institutional investors becoming universal activists?
The popular image of the activist investor is a slick and merciless Wall Street financier, relentlessly pursuing financial reward, perhaps best epitomized by Gordon Gekko and his philosophy that ‘greed is good’ in the film Wall Street. Much has changed since the 1980s, when that movie was made, and shareholder activism today is a popular and powerful investment strategy, with billions of dollars managed by specialist funds whose purpose is to change cor...
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Jul 04, 2018
Proxy season 2018 sees proposals focus on shareholder rights
The 2018 proxy season saw shareholder proposals focus more on shareholder rights than ever before, but with less success than in past years.  Investors submitted 138 shareholder rights proposals at US-headquartered companies during the first half of 2018 – the highest number since 2015 – according to data from Proxy Insight, sister company to Activist Insight. Constituting a quarter of all shareholder proposals in 2018, the category proved decidedly mor...
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Jun 22, 2018
Foreign activists push for change at Japan Inc
For the first time in six years, shareholder activism in Japan is largely being driven by outside activists, according to new data from Activist Insight Online. While the overall number of campaigns to June 18 is relatively low by international standards, and this year’s total count of 19 is just shy of last year’s tally over the same period, a shift has been seen in the number of foreign-led campaigns.  So far this year, 19 Japanese companies have been ...
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Jun 19, 2018
What activist and index fund collaboration means for IR
As index funds look to activists as a way of altering a company’s strategy, IROs and corporate secretaries need to form a united front, says Dan Romito, Nasdaq’s global head of investor analytics. The partnership between index funds and activists can work for both parties: index funds can align with an investor that helps them alter the long-term strategy of a tar...
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Jun 04, 2018
Facing activists on ESG
Climate change, diversity and the #MeToo movement are just some of the challenging topics investor relations teams are addressing as the corporate ESG movement gains momentum. With large shareholders pressuring businesses to be more responsible on such issues, IR professionals know they must be prepared to engage on a wider range of sensitive topics. Now there’s a new wrinkle. Activist investors are starting to adopt tools from the ESG movement to attempt to gain ...
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