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Alternative Market Briefing

Number of hedge fund-led proxy fights on the rise: report

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia – The number of proxy fights initiated by hedge funds is on the rise, highlighting a trend that activists in the industry are in fighting mood according to financial data company FactSet, reports Institutional Investor.

FactSet, in a report on corporate activism, said 42 hedge funds were involved in proxy fights as at end July this year, compared to 46 in the whole of 2011. But more importantly, 43% of hedge fund-initiated proxy fights went the distance this year, compared to 30.4% in 2011.

A proxy fight (or proxy battle), a term mainly used in the context of takeovers, is when a group of shareholders are persuaded to join forces and gather enough shareholder proxies to win a corporate vote – usually a vote to oust company management so that the company will be easier to takeover.

Bill Ackman’s Pershing Capital won a "nasty and bitter" proxy fight with Canadian Pacific Railway this year. When the company abruptly threw in the towel in May, Ackman forced CP’s chief executive Fred Green to resign.

Also in May,......................

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