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For a report of the research referenced below, see the feature article "Over 40% of activists seek board representation in 2012" in this newsletter:

 

Source: Financial Post, December 11, 2012 article

FINANCIAL POST

 Trading Desk

Carl Icahn busiest shareholder activist in 2012

David Pett | Dec 11, 2012 10:53 AM ET | Last Updated: Dec 11, 2012 11:13 AM ET

REUTERS/Chip East/Files

Carl Icahn led a busy year for shareholder activism that saw well over 100 different companies around the world come under fire for weak performance, says new research from Activist Insight, a London-based company that provides global information on activist investment.

The research showed 73 different activists publicly engaged with 135 different companies in in 2012, with 41% of activists seeking to gain board representation either through proxy access granted by the company or by launching a proxy contest.

Mr. Icahn was the most prominent global activist this year, having gained board representation at 5 companies, including Navistar International Corp, Chesapeake Energy and WebMD Health Corp. He was less successful, however, at Oshkosh Corp. and recently withdrew after a failed takeover bid.

Other notable activists this year included Starboard Value LP, Clinton Group Inc., Trian Fund Management LP, Value Act Capital Partners Inc. and Pershing Square Capital Management LP led by Bill Ackman, who won a high-profile proxy contest against Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.

The research showed that activists succeeded in having a nominee(s) elected onto the board in more than 3 out of every 4 occasions and of the 135 activist campaigns identified, there have been 21 proxy contests.

In six of these proxy contests, an activist submitted regulatory proxy filings but then later withdrew. As for the remaining 15 proxy fights, activists had their nominees join the board on seven occasions, while being rejected on five occasions.

Three contests, meanwhile, are yet to be re-solved due to delayed shareholder meetings and ongoing legal proceedings.

““Activists clearly see board representation as an integral part of pursuing a successful campaign for change at a company, said Nick Arnott, co-founder at Activist Insight.

“It’s an important way to ensure they have a voice in company decisions and to assist in the implementation of their strategies.”

© 2012 National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

 

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