R&C: In your opinion, what have been the most significant developments within the activist arena over the past 12 months or so?

Suvanto: First, passive funds are flexing their muscles like never before. In Vanguard’s ‘2017 Investment Stewardship Report’, the firm highlighted several instances of working alongside activists to unseat board members at portfolio companies. With trillions of dollars under management, passive funds’ increased interest and willingness to agitate for change, either in partnership with traditional activists, or directly, is a monumental evolution of the activism landscape. Second, a renewed interest in large caps has reinforced that size is no deterrent. We have seen activists take on behemoths like P&G and ADP with mixed success. At the same time, we have seen a new fervour among companies to fight back, and in some instances, make the first public strike, which marks a new stage in defence communications strategy. Third, activism focused on European and Asian companies is on the rise, driven by both local, home-grown activists as well as US activists looking for new opportunities.

Apr-Jun 2018 Issue


Innisfree M&A Incorporated

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz