Excellente revue de l’activisme actionnarial en 2018 par Jim Rossman, directeur de Shareholder Advisory de la firme Lazard. L’article a été publié sur le forum de la Harvard Law School aujourd’hui.
Vous trouverez ci-dessous les faits marquants de l’année. Je vous encourage à prendre connaissance des nombreuses illustrations infographiques dans la version complète.
Bonne lecture !
1. A New High-Water Mark for Global Activist Activity
- A record 226 companies were targeted in 2018, as compared to 188 companies in 2017
- $65.0bn of capital deployed in 2018, up from $62.4bn in 2017
- In spite of significant market volatility, Q4 2018 was the most active Q4 on record both by campaign volume and capital deployed
- Against the backdrop of a robust M&A market, 33% of 2018 activist campaigns were M&A related
2. Broadening Use of Activism as a Tactic
- A record 131 investors engaged in activism in 2018, reflecting the continued expansion of activism as a tactic
- 40 “first timers” launched activist campaigns in 2018, as compared to 23 “first timers” in 2017
- Nine of the top 10 activists (by current activist positions ) invested more than $1bn in 2018 (60 new campaigns in aggregate)
- Elliott continued to be the most prolific activist, with 22 new campaigns launched in 2018
3. Activism Is Reshaping Boardrooms
- 161 Board seats won in 2018,  up 56% from 2017 and 11% higher than the previous record of 145 seats in 2016
- Starboard led the way in 2018, winning 29 seats exclusively through negotiated settlements
- Activists continue to name accomplished candidates, with 27% of activist appointees having public company CEO/CFO experience
- However, only 18% of activist appointees in 2018 were female, as compared to 40% of new S&P 500 directors in 2018 
4. Activism Has Global Reach
- Activist campaigns in Europe and APAC accounted for 23% and 12% of companies targeted, respectively
- 58 European campaigns and 30 APAC campaigns in 2018 were each record highs
- National champions, iconic family owned companies and regulated industries featured prominently among targeted companies
5. Traditional Active Managers Are the “New Vocalists”
- Traditional active managers are increasingly comfortable sharing their views on major activist campaigns in private interactions with
management and more public forums
- Traditional managers like T. Rowe Price, Janus Henderson and GBL publicly voiced their opinions on major activist campaigns
6. Shareholder Dynamics Are Attracting Scrutiny
- BlackRock’s Larry Fink set the tone for the year, calling on companies to identify and follow through on their social purpose
- Stakeholder duties, employee Board representation and capital allocation / share buybacks became political issues
- Voting power of index funds remains a highly debated topic, and regulators have begun to explore the influence of proxy advisory firms and the proxy voting process itself
The complete publication, including Appendix, is available here.