THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.
23, 2013, 12:11 PM ET
and Won Board Seats in 2012: Report
Activist investors hungrily
sought board representation last year. And in most cases, they got what they
wanted, according to a new report from Activist Insight.
Among the 135 activist
campaigns tracked in the report, 58 put forward board candidates and, of
those, 45, or 80%, were successful. Activists most often won board seats
through access to the company’s proxy, the report said.
The next most popular
strategy was to push for a company to sell itself, with 28 of the 135
campaigns pushing for such a move, as
successfully did with both Par Pharmaceutical and Amylin Pharmaceuticals. A
push for a spin-off or sale of a business division occurred 26 times, the
removal of a chief executive or other board member was sought 23 times, and
in 16 instances investors sought to force a company to initiate a share
repurchase plan. The report did not include success rates for those goals.
Financial services companies
were targeted by 26% of the campaigns, the largest share in the group. Other
popular industries were technology, which comprised 21% of the campaigns,
and services, at 18% of the total.
The amount of money
activists spent acquiring their stakes grew by 34% to just over $12 billion
last year, from slightly less than $9 billion in 2011, with the average
initial investment growing to around $110 million from just over $80 million
the year before. At the same time, the percentage stakes that activists
gained through those investments did not show a similar increase, indicating
that the investors targeted larger companies, according to the report.
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