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Alternative Market Briefing

Survey finds acceptance and support for shareholder activism continues to increase across all constituencies

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Matthias Knab, Opalesque:

Leading law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ) today announced key findings from its 2016 Shareholder Activism Insight report, published in association with Activist Insight and FTI Consulting. The report, which surveyed the views of 37 of the leading activists in the marketplace, shows that acceptance and support for shareholder activism continues to increase across all constituencies. Notably, 92% of those surveyed believe institutional investors are more accepting of activists than in previous years, with activists also experiencing increased receptivity from retail investors, boards of directors, management teams and the media.

In 2014 and 2015, activists running majority slates became a norm, with nearly one-third of proxy contests seeing a majority slate proposed by activists. A significant percentage of respondents expect even more majority slates to be a cornerstone of activist campaigns through 2017.

Proxy contests, however, only represent one tool in the activist playbook. A majority of activists expect to see an increase in precatory proposals over the next year. After Carl Icahn’s successful push at eBay for a PayPal spinoff following his announcement of a precatory proposal, and Relational Investors and CalSTRS’ success with a similar proposal at Timken, activist funds have grown to appreciate that success does not always require a fullfledged proxy fight. While such proposals are nonbinding, companies know that the failure to ......................

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