The week in investor relations: Raising capital, conference cuts and diversity targets
– US companies raised the most equity capital in any quarter on record between March and June, reported the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Over the three-month period, $190 bn was raised, according to data from Dealogic. Many companies raised money to bolster balance sheets, and late in the quarter the IPO market also made a comeback.
– Next week hedge fund manager William Ackman is expected to bring to market the biggest-ever special purpose acquisition company (Spac), noted the WSJ. The listing will aim to raise $3 bn and Ackman’s Pershing Square firm could add ‘another few billion dollars’ to the total, according to the article.
– The NYSE extended a waiver that allows companies to raise capital without meeting certain shareholder approval conditions, according to Cooley PubCo. The waiver initially ran to June 30 but has now been extended to September 30. NYSE said ‘a number of listed companies have completed capital-raising transactions that would not have been possible without the flexibility provided by the waiver.’
– Investment banks cut back significantly on the number of conferences they sponsored in the first six months of the year, reported Integrity Research Associates, citing data from Virtua. The number of bank-sponsored conferences fell 37 percent in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period last year, while the number of non-bank-sponsored conferences fell even further, by 56 percent.
– AXA Investment Managers said it will implement a tough policy on gender diversity by voting against companies in developed markets where at least a third of the board is not female, reported the Financial Times (paywall). The French investment firm also said it will vote against companies in emerging markets and Japan if there is not at least one female director or 10 percent female directors at ‘larger boards’.
– The chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Gita Gopinath, said governments should move to ‘equity-like’ help for companies struggling from the effects of Covid-19, reported Reuters. ‘Because there’s a bigger insolvency issue here, government support would have to shift more toward being equity-like as opposed to debt-like,’ she said. ‘Otherwise, you would end up with a lot of firms that exit this crisis with a huge amount of debt overhang.’
– Global M&A activity fell sharply in the first half of the year as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and related shutdowns were felt on deal-making, noted ValueWalk. In the first six months of 2020, global deal volume dropped 32 percent, compared with the same period last year, while global deal values sank 52.7 percent.
And to recap, here are IR Magazine’s stories posted this week:
Despite the rhetoric, US-China financial decoupling is not happening
Virtual conferences see jump in interest
Wednesday winner: TD Bank’s ESG reporting
Covid-19 prompts rise in extra duties for IR departments
How to move from CSR to ESG reporting
Is your website set up for success in 2020?
ESG is back (and not just the E in ESG!) – sponsored content
Recap: IR Magazine Think Tank – Europe 2020
Global IPO market faces continuing uncertainty despite June rebound
The emergence of virtual investor relations – sponsored content